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Monday, November 11, 2013

Things You Don’t See Everyday

This morning while I was walking I heard a big commotion in a tree and suddenly, to my left, something was falling out of the tree, but WAIT!—it stopped falling and began to fly. A giant bird flapped away from the tree, triggering a memory I have of another rustle in a tree, seven years ago. The startling moment back then also involved a tree and an animal. But the animal, the tree, and the country were all different.

It was 2006. We were visiting family in Canada. It was nearly dark when Val remarked (quite calmly) that there was a bear in the tree next to the house. SAY WHAT? Yes, a bear.

We were visiting a small Canadian town near the woods so maybe a bear sighting should not have shocked me so much. But it did. You see, wild animals and I do not mingle intentionally. I’m scared of my own shadow, after all. But I joined the group for some twilight bear watching. I squinted up into a tall tree as darkness descended, hoping the bear would not do a back flip out of the tree, land at my feet and start nibbling me.

We city folk were in shock. The Canadians were not. Maybe this was a nightly thing for them. For us, not so much. We took photos, but it was nearly dark and we were trying not to scare the bear with a flash so the photo is pretty blurry.

But I swear this really happened. I’m flattered if you think I could imagine such a strange and vivid scene but honestly, I never would have imagined a bear in a pear tree. Maybe a partridge in a pear tree. Sure. I’m much more comfortable with that. A partridge is much smaller than a bear, after all, and therefore much less scary to me. Bears are giant, hungry, sharp-clawed and strong. No thanks. The only bears I’m willing to get near are gummy bears.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. If anyone out there reads this and thinks a bear in a pear tree is ho-hum, clearly you are braver than I am. Maybe that is something you see every day if you live in bear country. But for us city folk, that was newsworthy.

I’ll sign off now. It’s time to head out and see if I can find anything else unexpected: maybe Bigfoot shopping for holiday decorations. Or the Loch Ness Monster doing laps in the bay. I’ll let you know.


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