A few weeks before we moved into our home, the previous owner had a bear on her front deck. She woke in the night to the sound of the front gate opening and figure it was her son coming home from a night out with friends. She was surprised then to hear him coming up the stairs to enter the door on the deck instead of entering through the basement as was customary for him. She got out of bed to see what was going on and instead of her big teenage boy at the door she saw a big bear on the deck drinking the contents of her hummingbird feeder.
This story thrilled me! That would be the perfect way to view a bear, with walls and glass between you. I hoped all year to catch a glimpse and with a little jealousy and awe, read the sightings posted on the neighborhood chalk boards. Almost everyone I've known up here has seen one or two a year.
My first year went and the closest I got to a bear were my friends stories and the clues the bears would leave telling us they'd been there.
Last night Aaron and I were jolted awake by a crashing sound under our window.
"What the hell...?" Aaron whispered.
"Bear! The trash!" (We were still not awake enough to speak in complete sentences.)
We know the rules and typically we obey and keep our trash cans in the garage. A few times the trash has been so smelly that the whole house would stink up, particularly our bedroom as our room is directly about the garage. Do to the stinkiness we started putting it outside.
"We might get bears, honey." I warned.
"Nah. It's close to the house and the cars block it."
I think he has been secretly hoping to attract bears. Evidence: he has planted fruit bearing trees and blueberry bushes on our property.
"Babe....remember? Where there's berries, there's bears."
But he insisted and the trees and bushes were flourishing, until.... While the boys and I were in Texas I got a call from Aaron and he was fit to be tied:
"Those %$#@ deer ate my cherry trees!"
"Yes. That is what they do."
"I'm taking off from work tomorrow. I'm going to sit on the deck with my shotgun and if I see one of those @#$%-ers come near my tree.... Let's just say I'll have deer sausage for you when you get home."
I had a vision of Aaron on the deck with a gun and sixer of beer at his side.
"You've been alone on the mountain too long."
Breathe easy reader, he did nothing of the sort.
All of that to say I was not surprised at all to look the window and see a bear dumpster diving in our trash. I say "see" but it was so dark all I could see was it's shape.
"It's a bear!" I stage whispered.
At that, the shadow sort of bobbled and rolled over to my neighbors house. We went back to bed both delighted and disappointed. We could not get a good look at it. Still I was glad to finally have a bear story of my own.
One step closer... I could hear Caren say.
We had not laid our heads down but for a few minutes when the banshee-like yells of a fox were heard in the distance on the other side of the hill. As the sound drew nearer Drake added his baritone to the chorus.
"Nice." Aaron mumbled.
"Yes, he didn't make a peep about the bear but the fox....now there is something we need protection from."
Worst guard dog ever.
In his defense, the bear incident was on the other side of the house from him.
"What time is it?" I asked Aaron.
I tried to go back to sleep but rarely can after being interrupted. I laid there snuggled up to my hubby and petting my Smee-cat. Then I head another noise! I looked out the window and saw a mountain lion! I tried to wake Aaron up but he wouldn't budge. I saw that there was a mountain goat on the hill as well and the lion was stalking it. I didn't want to see what was about to happen but I couldn't turn away. Suddenly, the lion pounced on the goat. Just as quickly as that happened a herd of goats came out of no where and attacked the mountain lion! They were ripping his fur out of his back.
Then I woke up.
I spent the rest of the night (all three hours of it) on the threshold of sleep with one foot in a dream and one in the awake world. Drake's barks were woven into my dreams.
When my alarms went off, Drake was still barking and trying to bust through the door. I had a text from Caren: Bear.
All of the neighborhood dogs were barking like crazy. I let Drake out and the barking pretty much stopped.
I called Caren and told her what happened last night.
"It was about 3 when I heard noises outside of my house," she said. "I turned on my light and saw a bear. The light scared it and it took off towards your house..."
"Yes, thanks." (I think that was when I dreamt of the lion...)
"Our garage door was open though and I didn't want the bear to get our trash cans so I checked to see if he was around and then went out to shut the garage doors."
"I know! I was so scared! I had left one can out because it only had boxes in it. The bear came back though (I had a vision of a bear ping ponging back and forth between our homes) and he spent a lot of time on that can. Evidently there was a bag in there. He tore it up and had a picnic in Pete's yard."
"Oh he is going to love that!"
"I picked it up this morning. But I texted you because with all of those dogs barking I could pick out Drake's bark and I wanted you to know why he was barking."
"You think the bear was still there?"
"Oh yeah. The dogs across the street were going NUTS!"
I just brought Drake in and he is still going nuts. I've never seen him so ramped up. He tore through the whole house and checked every room and has finally settled down enough to sit by me but not calm enough to lay down. Chill, dog.
The kids were so mad that we did not wake them up last night to see the bear but it happened so fast! I do understand their disappointment though. Since their daddy insisted on planting fruit trees, I am sure they will get their opportunity.