I often turn to the natural world for inspiration. Today I didn’t have to look far. It came right to me, to the part of the deck where the bird feeders are. It came in the form of a black bear. A young one. One small enough to climb the ten or so feet from the ground to the deck. I finally caught a glimpse of him about ten o’clock last night when the dogs alerted us to his return. It wasn’t his first visit to the deck. Two days earlier we discovered the flag pole bent double, a feeder lying on its side on the deck railing, the bottom ring on the ground below. A large metal can full of sunflower seed lay on its side, open, but still nearly full. Something had scared him off then, just as Teddy’s warning bark had this time.
We had been sitting at dinner earlier when Teddy, the big guy who spends most of his time in the studio under a desk, began to voice his concern about what turned out to be another visit by our evening caller. I went to investigate and, sure enough, one of the bird-feeders was lying on the deck, badly damaged this time, and sun flower seeds were everywhere. I picked up the broken feeder and moved it and its twin, plus the metal container of seed into the studio.
Perhaps half-an-hour later we were sitting reading in the library, when both dogs, Teddy and a little white poodle sort of guy named Lucky, attracted our attention. From inside the studio, through the big glass door, I could see our visitor still on the ground. A juvenile, about 75 to 90 pounds, round and soft looking, the cub looked up when I slid the door open, turned and ambled away into the brush and trees beyond the deck. Just walked away. I tried to wait him out so I could make a really loud noise and, hopefully, scare him away. He must have known that, because he didn’t return. Until about four-thirty in the morning. Then Lucky alerted us, standing at the open door to the small deck off our bedroom. I closed the door and we went back to sleep. Later, when Teddy and I had taken our early morning walk in the fields, I checked the deck and saw that the bear had indeed come back and very nicely, like a good guest, cleaned up all the seeds he had scattered the night before. On the ground, from the flattened grass and weeds, I could easily follow his path away from the house and into the trees.
He will pay a return visit tonight, I’m sure. Only this time he won’t find anything. We will now be rigorous in bringing in the feeders and seed at dusk, until he decides there is nothing here for him. He managed, earlier in the week, to overturn and open our compost barrel, but he hasn’t yet discovered the container where we keep the garbage cans (or maybe he has and the ammonia I pour on a pad turns him away). So we have something to look forward to, I guess.
Life in the country is full of things to write about.