Ever seen an apple with bear teeth marks in it? Until recently, I had not had the pleasure. Nor had I spent any time in contemplation of just how much poop a bear produces.
Both experiences are new, to this city-trying-to-turn-country girl. I mean, I do live in the Pacific Northwest where the outdoor lifestyle is nearly deified and have heard many stories of others coming across bear while out hiking or kayaking or engaged in some other wilderness-type activity.
But not me. Never me. I usually like my wildlife close enough to feel daring but far away enough that there's no real danger. After all, when we hear about some poor sap getting mauled by a cougar or attacked by a bear, generally my first response is, "Well, what did they expect? They are invading their home!" Or, if I am feeling charitable, there is a distant sense of pity for the tragedy of having one's life so suddenly altered or cut short by a 'wild' event.
Now, I have moved into a bear's home. Not literally, mind you - I'm not sure I am ready for cave or thicket-living, but definitely within a bear's natural range of foraging.
So far, it's a very courteous bear. None of us have seen it "in the flesh" yet. It hasn't gotten into the shed or tried to maul the garbage cans. It's left the cars alone.
There are 2 apple trees within 150 feet of my new home and this bear likes apples. Truth be told, they are fairly tasty apples. Nicely, the bear hasn't even left the results of late-night apple eating binges in the main paths or the driveway.
I find it a little unsettling to catch myself thinking about how I would handle a bear charge. What would I do if I actually saw the bear? My natural reaction, when panicked, is to freeze. I'm not so sure that is going to be helpful really.
And I keep thinking that should I ever happen to see this bear, and should the bear ever charge at me - I hope my death by mauling will happen on a day when complete strangers are having a charitable day and I win the distant pity lottery...