B is for Bear

I’ve decided to play a little word association with the letters as they come up for this blogging challenge. Possibly pick the first word that comes to my head when I say the letter out loud. As the title of this blog suggests, bear was the first thing I thought of when I said “B.” 

I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw a bear in the wild. As a kid, I saw them at the Portland Zoo. And I grew up listening to my dad’s stories of bears in the wilderness. Quite frankly, someday I had expected to see a blue bear running through the forest from the can of paint my dad sprayed at one of them when he was marking trees.  

A few years back we were staying in Graeagle, CA (north of Tahoe) visiting some family and friends. We sat out on the back deck in the late afternoon sipping wine and chatting. Beyond the deck is about a five foot swatch of grass that ends where the land drops down to Graeagle Creek. The steep sides of the creek bed behind the home are filled with brush and dotted with fir trees. Deer range freely in the grass, used to people but still wary of their approach. Bald eagles roost in the tops of the trees before swooping down on the Graeagle Mill pond to snatch an unsuspecting fish before flying back to their nest. 

On that evening before twilight, the cool breeze barely carried voices from across the pond. We could here crickets beginning to sing their evening song. The stillness was broken by the sound of something large crashing through the brush by the creek. My husband, nonchalantly says, “Must be a deer.” 

We continue to chat and sip our wine as the crashing continued and a hairy, scary bear burst from the brush. Our dog, who is afraid of a leaf floating in water, jumped up barking wildly to protect us. We jumped up (leaving the wine behind) and scrambled into the house a stream of creative curse words in our wake. My husband paused long enough to save the wine. 

Turns out it wasn’t the only bear there that night. Shortly after that one was spotted another one raced down the grass toward the golf course. 

And that, my friends, is why B is for Bear.