BIG BLACK BEAR

On our walk up the mountain today (me and the Lucy Factor), a big black bear crossed our path. I, of course, did absolutely the wrong thing which was to back away with my heart in my mouth and the adrenalin spurting, and then almost immediately turn and run back to the driveway outside the spa. Rule #1 (as I understand it) when meeting a bear is not to run. As my husband so thoughtfully informed me later, “They like to chase things.”- sort of like cows I guess; another curious animal. Well, I’m sorry but this is the third bear encounter I’ve had in recent months, they’ve all been large and swift, and I had my baby- all sweet-smelling and milky- like some succulent hors d’oeuvre, strapped to my chest. I tried not to run but my legs wouldn’t obey me. And I had forgotten the umbrella at home , since this was the finest day we’d had in a while. I carry pepper spray, a loud referee’s whistle and a small knife in my shoulder bag but have come to the conclusion that nothing will deter a bear faster than a brightly-colored umbrella opening quickly. The other implements are too problematic and rely on a cool head in a crisis- which I obviously do not possess.The wind could well blow the pepper spray into my eyes, the whistle wakes the baby and the knife, as I used to joke, is only good for hobbling a walking companion so that I can outrun her should we encounter a hungry bear. Unfortunately most of the time I walk alone. Better by far to run.
After a few anxious moments watching as the bear leisurely disappeared into the woods on the other side of the road and feeling sweat collecting and running down my back, we continued up the hill, whistling and singing and banging on the girders and blowing that whistle. I felt like an utter fool and when I ran into the man with the 2 vicious boston terriers (they are like miniature pit bulls with none of the charm) and told him of the bear, he couldn’t have cared less.
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