Monday, September 15, 2008

Wilder Life

Last night Grammar’s little family were seated around the kitchen table enjoying a tasty chicken dinner. There was Grammar, SRH, VCCGirl and the Boyfriend (of VCCGirl, not Grammar). Yes, this is the same boyfriend who first met Grammar under extremely inauspicious morning circumstances almost a year ago. He’s still around, bless his heart. Clearly a fellow with staying power. Of course, when the draw is the charming and beautiful VCCGirl, why not indeed?

Once when we were on vacation in Mexico with our children, a local man eyed up my daughter, then looked at me and said in English, “Beautiful daughter, beautiful girl. Good job, Mama” and gave me a thumbs-up, and walked on. Along with feeling outraged that this slimy man would dare to ogle my young teenage daughter, I wanted to laugh at being given any credit for her. I take no credit, because that would be ridiculous, but I certainly do take enormous pride in my girl, who is beautiful both inside and out.

Anyway, we’re seated at dinner and suddenly VCCGirl blurts “Uh oh!” and points out the window. There, taking up about half our wee new back yard, was the biggest black bear I’ve ever seen, and living on the North Shore for 25 years, I’ve seen quite a few. It ambled through the yard and headed up along the side of our house.

We leapt up and ran to the front window, and saw many of our neighbours out on their porches, calling to each other and pointing out the bear’s current location. We all compared notes of where it had been, whose garbage had been raided, whose tender new landscaping trampled (sigh). The bear, oblivious, made its way down to the little park at the end of the street and disappeared from our sight, so we returned to dinner.

It was an interesting way to bond a bit with our new neighbours, I thought.

In all my years here, I have never worried much about bears because until very recently, there had been no reports of a bear attacking a human except in the very rare circumstance that you might come between a mother and cub. But there have been several reports of seemingly unprovoked attacks recently in communities near the bears' mountain homes, and no one is sure why they have suddenly become aggressive towards people, although there are some theories.

So when I went out early this morning to start the sprinkler on our new grass, I took a large, heavy shovel with me and filled my lungs with plenty of air for any ululating that might become necessary.

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