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.
But seriously?
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?


Heather said...

Oh wow! I must admit, I would have grabbed my camera too! Thank I would have worried about momma bear...

Loree Huebner said...


My sister lives in Colorado and I saw her chase a small brown bear away from her front door one time.
Yep, she used a broom...haha. That was my first sight of a bear in nature...not in a zoo.

I was excited but kept my distance. My sister warned that he was a baby, and she was sure that Mama was around and watching up the hill aways.

Enjoy your vacation!

My first inclination is to pray.

Jan Cline said...

I am learning to not jump to conclusions about interruptions. Often, there is a purpose for them, and if not, then it's best to take time to make your choices. I love this analogy - quite the unusual distraction. One you will remember.

Donna said...

As an animal fanatic, I loved your bear picture and adventure! Bears don't roam freely in south Texas, so I'm loving yours from afar. Thanks for a great post!

Dianne Peeler said...

Maybe prayer and a glass of wine every morning for breakfast...Just kidding, God makes wonderful creatures, some we just have to respect because they are just protecting themselves. Have a great vacation and keep all eyes open.

piafinn said...

Yikes! My first thought would have been, "Where's his Mama?"

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Wow! I would freak out, and so would our dogs. We do sometimes get coyotes in our neighborhood, but they're not as fearsome as bears.

Catherine West said...

Everyone was saying, "Hold the dog!" I don't even think he saw the bear until it was retreating! Afterward I let him out and made him bark very loudly all around the entire cottage! We haven't seen another bear since and with one week left here, that's fine with me!

Catherine West said...

Everyone was saying, "Hold the dog!" I don't even think he saw the bear until it was retreating! Afterward I let him out and made him bark very loudly all around the entire cottage! We haven't seen another bear since and with one week left here, that's fine with me!

Jenny Sulpizio said...

OM Gawsh. Interruptions are hard for me to take and are definitely an adjustment. This interruption is a bear though and no matter how small or how cute he/she is, it's a flippin' bear! Yikes! This type of interruption is something I could never get used to...:)

Carol J. Garvin said...

Not exactly a welcome dinner companion, for sure! We live rurally and occasional bears wandering through our property aren't unusual. They've ventured onto our back deck a couple times, too, although I've never captured a good photo. The best photo I have is of one chowing down at the bird feeder in the garden... I included it in my blog post three years ago at . I wear a bear bell while I'm gardening but fortunately have never had a bear confront me.

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