Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My!

I was peacefully reading the newspaper, drinking my coffee this morning when a dark shadow appeared across the page. Looking outside the doors leading to the patio, I saw a small black bear in the garden. My first reaction was to call my husband, who didn’t answer. Then I thought I should call the police but didn’t have the non-emergency number at hand. I called 911 only to hang up after one ring. But that’s enough apparently to register with the police and a dispatcher called back. I apologized for using the emergency number and mentioned the bear, who after a little stroll around the BBQ and air-conditioning unit, seemed to have ambled away.

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They were already aware of the little bear’s presence and an officer was in the area that would stop by. I wasn’t scared – I was inside and don’t have pets or small children outside, nor did I see the mother seeking her baby. We’re quite used to seeing bears in Pennsylvania, where the critters seem to know the garbage collection schedule and appear with frequency to dump trash. One knows to keep your distance and if hiking to make loud noises and huddle together. I had no fear that The Revenant would be reenacted in my suburban backyard.

When the policewoman came, I expressed that I hoped they wouldn’t kill the bear. She reassured me that unless anyone was in danger, they let the wildlife find their way back to the woods. Bears climbing up trees, however, often don’t come down and then need to be tranquilized and returned to the forest. She took my name and my birthday (???) and left, warning me to be careful. I finished my coffee and went to yoga, adrenaline already pumping a bit from the morning excitement.

Earlier that morning, I read about tigers in Thailand  who are embroiled in controversy as they’re raised in captivity in a monastery that considers them spiritual animals and makes money on tourists who come and pet the tigers.

This past Sunday, we visited some of the grands and were regaled by a puppet show, including a lion, a monkey, a shark, and a pirate. There wasn’t much dialogue or plot, just a lot of sounds, particularly roaring. I saw my thespian niece Dasha last week and she was reading A Midsummer’s Night Dream because her school drama club is planning a performance of “Pyramus & Thisbe,” the play within the play. She’s cast as the lion; and I mentioned, having taught the play to middle schoolers, that the part involved only a few lines and mostly roaring. She’s a busy high school kid and felt better about what she needed to memorize.

Lions, tigers, bears and other wildlife belong in the wild. Let’s not make pets of animals not intended to be. Go on a safari. Go to the zoo. Don’t feed bears or deer that may enter your yard. Enjoy these animals from afar – or at least from behind glass, in a puppet show or play.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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8 Responses to Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My!

  1. I get a kick out of you seeing a bear this morning as I have been revising my middle grade novel and was just rewriting the scene where Eva is scared of encountering a bear in the mountains. We’re experiencing bear vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Am so glad your little bear escaped and your policewoman seemed kind! Last time I called 911 was for a cow in the road!!

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  3. I think we’ve called for raccoons… a bit embarrassing…

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  4. -Marvelous! Remember all the bear stories fom our camping days? Matthew made fun of me because I carried a nail file when we walked through Falconwood Park, in England, on our way back from an evening in London. He’d say, “Lions and Tigers and Bears”

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  5. hugmamma says:

    I totally agree about leaving the wildlife to do their own thing…in the comfort of the wild. I almost encountered a huge, black bear in Banff, Canada. I decided to go my way and let him have the path I was about to take all to Mr. Bear. No one had to convince me otherwise.

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  6. Pingback: The Bear, My Birthday & Facebook | cyclingrandma

  7. Marsha says:

    That’s quite a story. I walked with a bear and her cub up in the Sequoia National Forest quite by accident. I got car sick, so I wanted to walk for a while and asked my husband to pick me up at the next turnout. He agreed, but along the way Mama and Baby bear ambled along the other side of the highway. I just kept going, and she went her way. We didn’t tangle – thank goodness! 🙂

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