Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In Which I Avoid The Bear

"Bear Update," was the title of an e-mail recently sent to everyone in our neighborhood. "A bear and her cub have been spotted roaming the streets and woods."

Now, I do not live on the Aleutian Islands, or Alaska, or the zoo. I have seen bears a few times WAAYYYY up in the Virginia mountains, but having them loitering by my mailbox is a bit much. Especially considering the stomach-churning fear everyone experiences when they think about things "a bit too much" while running in the foggy dark before sunrise.

The deer are bad enough, huddling behind bushes and mailboxes, waiting for me to approach -- rubbing their hooves together, I imagine -- and then exploding across the road in a rain of demon-hooves and swaying tree branches. Ha ha! Hilarious, deer! Perhaps you'd like to try my venison-flavored deer treats!

This morning I was trotting along in the milky ghost light of a rainy night and thin moon, when I saw outlined against the dim road a squat thing moving in the leaves. I veered right; it followed. I swerved left, it followed.

Easy, easy, I whispered. This is reality. Reality! Come on, reality! When I saw it waving long arms and legs I felt the long cold shiver down my scalp and neck.

It was my shadow.

In my defense, it was a solid-looking shadow because the air was so humid and it caught on ... uh, water droplets ... three-dimensional....

The worst part is that it startled me twice. On the same run. As in, "I know the last thing was just my shadow but this new hell-denizen is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT."

Somehow I made it home without crashing into deer, bear, or anything worse. If I could just convince myself that the "bear" was just someone rehearsing a Halloween costume, then all I need is candy.

If I see the bear I will pelt it with Smarties and lock the door.


Barbara said...

You have an easy solution to all those terrorizing animals lurking behind mailboxes just waiting to dart out and pluck your heart out---sleep in and forget running in the cold, soggy mornings!

Peter S said...



Sam said...

You've gotten alot more jumpy than you used to be...maybe all those "It was an oldddd indian burial ground..." stories are coming back to get you! Hey! Did I tell you Jesse and I almost hit a giant black bear the other day? We were driving on a little side street downtown and this enormous furry black thing sauntered out in front of the car and Jess had to hit the brakes and swerve! He was a big 'un!

missalister said...

Ha, just saw this. Many months of the year I’m in VT where there are supposed to be bears and bobcats and wildebeests and whatnot, and I can tell you, the deer do do that, what you wrote.
And I saw a small, black bear about a month ago—not on a run, thank-ya-Jesus—but he or she was too far away to pelt with Smarties. My arm’s not that good. I think it’s a good plan though ; )

S R Wood said...

These bears are nothing to fool around with! I've heard tell of entire villages decimated by a hungry bear. Of course, the bear was called Bubonic Plague.

Any doubters are welcome to go for a long and dark run alone while I hide in the bushes and make snuffling and lip-smacking sounds.