Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wildlife in a small town.

We don't live in town, but if we did, there'd only be about 1600 people there. But no, even that thriving metropolis would be too crowded...we live a few miles outside of Paonia, on a remote (don't get me wrong...its absolutely the loveliest place you could imagine!) road in the hills, peppered by just a few homes. And lots of deer. And recently inhabited by a huge hawk. The latter is causing me a problem because we have a small dog; one I'm thinking would be just about the right size for a snack, which means every time the dog needs to be 'peed' one of us has to stand right over him to insure he doesn't become an appetizer.
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.


  1. But did you call the pulice?? The was an article just the other day basically saying don't waste the badges time calling every time you see a bear. There are bears everywhere around here amongst 10,000 humans. No one has ever been harmed. Do not curtail your activities because of them please. You'll be just fine.

    I've turned around a couple times in areas south of here because of the area has a high concentration of mountain lions and I was by myself and did not like the picture in my head of one jumping Fly from outta a tree above him. Turned around. Mountain lions attack humans for food. Bears don't give a shit about that.

    I think this is funny. Most don't think I'm funny I guess and they think more along the lines of asshole.

    Check this bear out.

  2. Ok...this is real. The photos of Maria & the bear (which were very cool) are as close as I want to get! So much for Yogi and BooBoo... Now I'm a-scared of mountain lions, too! I'll stick with my big fat house cats...

  3. That's as close as I want to get as well and I want nothing to do with mountain lions except I'd very much like to see one.