There's No Need to Fear, Under Bear Is Here!

Ground Beef
Continued From: Motion Sickness

I did not see the black bear on the day I went for the final sway in the hammock. As I've written, there is reason to believe hammocks are attractive to bears, so we designated the contraption as off limits to ourselves.

Whenever we've detected the bear in the area, he disappears for a month or more before he nuzzles his muzzle on our premises again. I was calm with the prospect of carefree, bear-free weeks ahead.

The next night at two minutes before 12, I heard it coming, slow and deliberate, up the overgrown cliff from the creek. Fallen branches snapped and heavy, scuffling feet could be heard mere yards away in the solid, otherwise quiet darkness.

The creature was large and headed straight towards me in the shadows.

The noise inched closer, stopping with a plop at our downstairs porch, opposite the hammock, and eight feet beneath my toes. I felt the house shake.

I remained awake all night, listening. I never heard another sound. I never saw the bear.

When dawn joined the festivities, I decided on a course of action. I essentially heaved-ho myself outside to survey the porch, the hammock, and the perimeter of the cabin, surrounded by forest. There was no sign of voracious teeth and claws.

I raced back into the house to grab the shovel, detouring momentarily to check my email. I may have been afraid, but I'm also addicted to the Internet.

Neighbor Sally had sent a note. The bear visited them, too, shortly before midnight.

"I saw Smokey's eyes shining in the dark as it attacked our bird feeders and then it made lots of noise walking through the woods in your direction.... Scary!"

I'll say!

I stepped through our yard, after eyeballing the area for danger. I plunged the shovel into the lawn. I began to dig as fast as I could manage. The perspiration and muscle pain mounted, yet I was determined to unearth the previous owner's bomb shelter as soon as possible. The bear would never manage to break in on us there. We would be safe.

An hour passed, maybe two, as I dug divots and big holes in a frantic effort to locate the entrance.

Then, without warning, the shovel clinked on something hard, concrete.

I paused, smiled, and bent over to cuddle the septic tank.


Nobody ever tells a city boy anything.
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