Friday, August 12, 2011
We Interrupt This Normally Peaceful Life...
...To Scare The Crap Out Of You.
Isn't he cute? Yeah. Except that ball of cuteness is standing on the back porch of my cottage. Staring in the window of my cottage. At me.
Not so cute.
We've been spending summers in Northern Ontario for the past eight years. Seen plenty of deer, squirrels and chipmunks and raccoons and even a moose. Never, ever, have I ever seen a bear.
Until the other day.
We were just sitting down to dinner, me with my back to the window, it was a little chilly and rainy so we were eating inside. Suddenly my son's eyes get really big and he points behind me. "Oh my gosh, there's a bear at the barbeque!"
My son, the actor. The proverbial Peter from Peter and the Wolf. My son who thinks it's funny to yell, "Watch out, there's a car coming!" when you're pulling out from a blind corner. When there's no car coming...
But on this night, my son wasn't joking.
There was bear on the porch. A bear looking at our barbeque, checking to see if we'd been kind enough to leave him any leftovers.
And the first thing I hear is not, "Let's chase him away!" it's "Somebody get the camera!"
But okay. We have a cool picture. We're alive. The bear left and hasn't come back.
This is really putting a kink in my normally peaceful cottage existence.
The day after the bear incident, we took the dog for a walk. He was leashed, bear bell firmly tied to his collar and we carried an air horn. As I looked dubiously into the thick, dark and scary forest surrounding us, I noticed a glint in my husband's eyes. "Gives it a whole new perspective, doesn't it?" He was only half-joking.
I could happily have gone without seeing that bear on my porch.
I knew bears were out there, this is the boondocks after all. But I just figured they'd keep to themselves and we'd just not cross paths. Ever.
But now what? Now what do I do? Stay inside the cottage and refuse to go outside? Never walk down to the lake again or sit alone with a glass of wine on the porch as the sun goes down?
So things have changed somewhat. I'll be a little more careful when I'm out walking. More aware.
But I won't give in to my first instinct. The extremely strong flight instinct that kicked in the moment I realized what was happening. That loud, yelling voice that said "Pack your bags, change your ticket and the get the heck out of here!" It was tempting. After all, the only feral creatures in Bermuda are cats, chickens, and idiots with guns.
But I didn't give in. Nobody would have taken me to the airport anyway.
So here I stay, but with a new perspective. And that happens, doesn't it?
Things happen that we just can't control, just can't contemplate until it's too late and there isn't a darn thing we can do about it. Life isn't always peaceful.
Babies aren't supposed to die. Young women aren't supposed to get cancer. Families are supposed to stay together.
Terrible tragedies take place all around us, every day. Things that can change you, change the way you look at life. Change the way you live.
We don't think about them until they show up on our back porch.
And then we have a choice. Retreat, run or wait it out. Dig your heels in. Pray with everything you've got. Face whatever comes next with a bravado you didn't know you had.
How do you react to the unwanted interruptions in your life?
Posted by Catherine West at 10:26 AM