Monday, May 29, 2017

The Bear and I

Friday, about midday, I was sitting in my big comfy chair, writing. Pretty much immersed in Paris in 1730. I looked up and saw a big black bear leaned up against the sliding glass door.

I thought “ACCCK”

In case you were wondering what people think when something unexpected and not noticeably benign happens to them, that is what comes to their mind. You have my permission to quote this in your own writing as it is a useful thing to know.

After I thought “ACCK!” I thought “I should take a picture of this.”
Really. That’s what I thought.

While I thought all this the bear continued to peer into the house and rattle the sliding door in a semithreatening sorta way.

I will mention that the sliding glass door is usually pushed back to just the screen at this time of year.  This screen does not form much of a barrier. In fact, there’s a huge hole in it where Mandy-the-dog charged through to get at a possum. If it had not been a little chilly and the glass door closed I would have been confronting a bear more intimately at that moment so let us all take a moment to thank  the weather.

Anyhow, the sequence of events so far was a mental “ACCCK!” and a mental “I should take a picture of this.” Then I thought, “The camera is on the other side of the room and I will have to walk directly past the bear to get to the camera.”

I dismissed the thought of taking a picture which is why I am not a photojournalist. I have never before asked myself why I am not a photojournalist but now I know.

I have spent many a night sleeping soundly, secure in the knowledge that my trusty hound Mandy will let me know if anyone invades the house.  After all, she barks at every squirrel jumping from tree to tree and announced the arrival of the UPS man with hysterical abandon. 

About a half minute into what I will call ‘The Bear Incident’, my faithful dog was still sleeping,
curled up on the rug, three feet from where a moderately large, (OK, pretty damn big) bear that was thumping on the glass.

Snore, snore goes Mandy.

Obviously I have been living in a fool’s paradise when it comes to dog-protected sleep.

So I now worried that the dog would get eaten when the bear breaks into the cabin. I might, you will argue,  have been better worried about getting mauled by the bear myself and there is much to be said for this point of view. Nonetheless, I am reporting events and I will admit I did not think about that. I just worried about the dog.

Basically I am low-hanging fruit for bears.

“Urlp,” I said, not being eloquent.

Mandy woke up, took one look at the bear, and ran for the front door,  
which I had left open
to let the breeze in.
I had forgotten about that.
In my defense, I couldn’t have made it to the door before the dog got there anyway. She’s fast.

The bear took off.
Mandy took off.
I ran for the back porch to see what was going on which I could see anyhow, only the thrashing of undergrowth as they passed.

Round about a quarter of a mile downhill where the edge drops off sharply
 the dog started baking.

So I leaned over the railing, yelling, “Mandy! Come!” over and over again.   
Which she, naturally did not.

Bark bark bark etc.
But no screams of mortally injured dog.

I did not go down and try to chase the bear off  because they were moving really fast and it is all overgrown and difficult terrain and I am not a total idiot.

Ten minutes of barking.
Eventually Mandy returned, unhurt, prancing, looking very proud of herself.

I gave her the leftover from my Mexican takeout as a reward.

If I were writing this, Mandy would be the pro-active female protagonist and I would be ineffectual sidekick.


  1. On the other hand Mandy is probably unable to acquire Mexican take out on her own so you make a good team.

    1. We repay our pets by having opposable thumbs, can openers, and cell phones.
      They give us love.