Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lions, and Tigers, and - Oh Wait, Just Bears

This little lady and I took a walk tonight.

She looks a little grouchy because I actually had to wake her up from a nap to go (which I would not normally wake a sleeping baby, but her daddy was at a fantasy football draft and the dog needed a walk).

So we mixed up our usual route, and decided that we'd go down a path that has been blocked off for construction, since we'd need to turn around and go back the way we came anyway to use the crosswalk with a light.  There's another one closer to our house, but I'm too scared to use it without Keith to walk ahead of the stroller.  Call me crazy, but it freaks me out.

Anyway, because of our detour, we took a path that we hadn't for a couple of weeks.  And on it, I am certain we saw bear poo.  BEAR POO.

Did I mention I'm scared of bears?  Especially out there all alone with my dog and baby?  Yeah, I'm scared of bears.

See, there really have been bears in our neighborhood.  These signs are on most of the mailboxes around here:

Aaaand, my paranoia might be fueled by the fact that I actually ran into a real, live bear.

No, it wasn't today (thank goodness, I probably would have died of a heart attack, with Ruby being with me!).  It was about three years ago.  Braidy had decided that she needed to go out at around 10:30pm.  Our townhouse has no yard, which meant taking her for a walk.  Keith was being lazy, so he made me go.  I decided to just take her on a quick loop around the park by our house.

We were almost back to our street.  I was looking down at the sidewalk, and noticed Braidy stop and stiffen up.  I looked up in what seemed like slow motion.  I noticed big, dark, furry legs, and I remember thinking, "Why is the neighbor's dog in the street?"  My gaze continued up with confusion, and then I realized.  That was not the neighbor's dog at all.  That was a big black bear. 

Braidy was frozen, staring at it, and it was staring at us.  There was maybe 30 feet between us?  I couldn't decide if I wanted her to bark, or to keep very quiet.  I couldn't remember what to do when you see a bear either.  Was I supposed to make noise?  Keep quiet?  Make eye contact?  Don't make eye contact?  All I knew was that I wanted to go home.  Except to go home, I'd have to walk toward the bear, then turn my back to it to go down my street.  So I just stood there, staring, paralyzed.

Eventually the bear stopped staring at us and lumbered the rest of the way across the street and into a thicket.  Braids and I hustled our buns (she hadn't barked at all, and I decided I was really thankful) down the street.  We topped a little rise in the road, and could see Keith standing on our balcony.  I started yelling, "Bear!  Bear!  We just ran into a bear!" and he was yelling, "Get in the house, now!!!"  I'd left the garage door open when we took our walk, and was, of course, terrified that there was a bear in our garage too.  There wasn't.  That bear was just too darn close though.  

We saw a bear, maybe the same one, several more times out our window at night digging through the neighbors' garbage cans.  I later saw one run past my classroom window (3 miles away).  So seeing the bear poo today, well, it brought back some memories.  I feel bad for the bears because our neighborhood is constantly expanding, but man, I do not want to run into one ever again!

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