Supreme dog vigilance is a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful and serene spot. However...I was having a conversation yesterday with a local guy who is much smarter in the ways of wild things than I am. Imagine my shock when one of the first things he asked after arriving at the here was whether we saw the muddy bear prints coming up the road on the way to the house. Dopey me, I thought those paw prints belonged to the big dog next door. Turns out, a bear was traveling from one mesa to another, and took the road less traveled...ours.
Here's a pic of the road the bear crossed...the prints got washed away in this morning's rain, and I wasn't going to do anything more than lean out the window to snap this with my blackberry.
I've been completely freaking out, no longer willing to go for long walks in the hills, and now even nervous about going out at night to pee the dog. I am not chicken shit about everything.There are some combative situations where I am perfectly capable of handling myself. Taking on a classroom full of unruly 3rd graders? Cake. Navigating TSA agents, snotty clerks at airline or rental car counters, making sense of strange cities...not a problem; could do it in heels. Presentation to a hundred self-important graphic design students? With handouts? And Q & A? Watch me.(past life in territory sales cures many fears) Battling crowds at the half yearly sale at Nordstrom? In my sleep. In fact, with the help of Ambien, I think I have shopped it in my sleep.
But none of that stuff is any sort of prep for dealing with a bear. On some level, I'm pretty sure the bear has moved on. But animals are unpredictable. How many times have the damn deer waited until just before you're ready to pass before they bound out in front of your car? How many times to we get visited by raccoons or skunks or big scary birds or fox, or coyotes, or mountain lions?
Give me batshit city crazy anytime...I can handle that with far more grace. (Once a horribly unbalanced homeless woman accused me of having sex with her husband in the public restroom in SF...I just apologized and told her I didn't know he was her husband. She left me alone) But you start bringing furry things with big claws and teeth that do not respond to smart-ass and I am totally screwed.
Today I had a doctor's appointment and forgot to bring a book for the waiting room. I passed the time waiting for the doctor reading "Guns and Ammo".(It was that or Parenting Magazine) After looking at all the pretty pictures of guns, I was thinking that if we're going to live in the middle of wild kingdom, perhaps I should learn how to defend myself. But then the next page I flipped to was an article on one type of bullet vs. another type of bullet; and contained all kinds of disgusting descriptions of features and benefits. The features and benefits all involved metal ripping through flesh, and I realized I may yell at something, and maybe throw a rock or two... but don't think I have it in me to shoot at something that's alive. Maybe I should just focus on learning how to make a really big noise, and take my walks in the city park. All of a sudden, I'm kind of homesick for a really crowded Hertz counter.