I saw the bear.
Or maybe he was only ONE of the bears that have been roaming my suburban New Jersey town. Either way, a big, black blur shot across my path while running in the South Mountain Reservation. My dog, Lucy, saw him first. That’s why she was straining at her leash.
At first, my brain said, “Big, black dog. Very big.” I whipped my head around expecting to see a leash-weilding dog owner yelling, “Fido, get back here!” The man running in front of me turned around to face me. “Did you see the bear?” he asked. Oh, it wasn’t a dog!
Wow. So exciting! We both looked into the woods. The blur was gone. In seconds.
The young male bear (or bears) have been playing cat and mouse with the police. Some people are panicked; some are amused. Someone has started a Twitter account posing as the bear. I’m in the camp of, “Poor thing(s), they’re just trying to stake out their own territories.” Maybe I’m naive. know bears can be dangerous, but I’m just not concerned. Maybe because our suburban bear isn’t a mama.
Speaking of mamas, Hubby once found himself the object of a mama bear’s attention. In the middle of a golf course, looking up after planting a tee, a mama bear and her two cubs stood 30 feet away, staring him down. Hubby slowly walked backwards towards the golf cart, keeping an eye on the bears without looking actually looking at them. He said he took out the longest club in his golf bag. He and his golfing buddy decided to “keep the cart between us and them.”
The mama bear snorted and grunted, ambled to the edge of the course and scaled a tree faster than a monkey. Her cubs followed. Once the bears were hanging out in the upper branches, Hubby and his partner felt safe golfing. Not only did they discover why the course is named “Black Bear Golf Course,” they came away with good advice: “Don’t ever climb a tree to escape a bear.”
As of two weeks ago, there are new “predators” in our town–foxes. Predator is in quotes because the only ones who should fear foxes are rodents, rabbits and birds. I don’t know if a fox would attack a small dog or cat, but otherwise sensible people are posting fox sightings daily. They are creating a FP (or Fairytale Panic)! The image of the fox as a villain may be deeply entrenched, but really! If we didn’t have foxes, there would be so many bunnies, they’d start building bunny condos on top of their warrens. I have nothing against bunnies, by the way–and Watership Down in one of my all-time favorite books–but 1)this is the circle of life and 2)the foxes are doing what foxes do.
So, hats off to the bear who ran past me.
Maybe he was in a rush to get back to his cottage where he heard a girl named Goldilocks had eaten his porridge!