Saturday, June 23, 2012

This is not a petting zoo

Yesterday, I clapped at a bear by accident.

A peaceful afternoon, the classical-music man on NPR mumbled the, uh, *silence*... on the radio as the song birds warbled and the crows wailed periodically in the trees. I stabbed at a salad with my nose buried in my GRE study book, trying to skim a chapter before ambling down the hill back to the barn for an afternoon of cultivating.

"Something just walked behind the shed," I say to the other apprentice who only just arrived on Monday.

"It's probably a deer."

"No," I say, "no, it was black. I just saw it out of the corner of my eye--it's probably the neighbor's dog." I had only seen hindquarters: stocky, black, short tail, the size of a large dog.

Midway as I go to walk around to the front of the shed, a very wise thought occurs to me: I should warn the dog that I am coming so that I don't scare it. You see, I'm not afraid of animals, and I thought I'd pet it.

"Here, puppy!" I call and clap my hands as I bustle forward through scrub oak I'm falling backward through a second later: a baby bear hightails it one way and I yell and gallop through the poison ivy back to the kitchen.

"Roshdat! That was a bear!"

"Oh." She goes on eating.

"A baby bear."


"This means that there is a mother bear somewhere."

"Are you saying we should leave?"

"I'm not sure."

We leave.

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