Bears will get you!

.August 26th, 1997
8pm MST
Big Elk Meadows, Colorado

The little garden area along side the driveway had need some attention all
summer. The two previous summers, the area had been full of colorful
poppies. They don't show up until August, so we had patiently waited for
them to arrive this year. Nothing happened. Must be that one of the dogs
dug everything up.

I was tired of looking at the forlorn dirt so when I saw pansies on sale at
K-Mart, I decided that these were just the right things for the area.
Pansies are one of the few things that the wildlife here in the mountains
will not eat. Also, they will come back year after year, if we keep the
doggies under control.

It was about 8pm. I decided to get a start on planting while it was cool
outside. It had been so hot all day that it felt refreshing to sit down on
the pavement next to the garden. I began digging in the dirt. It was good
black dirt. I think so many things have been planted in this little area
over the years that the soil is especially rich; everyone added a little
more goodness to the soil as they planted.

I looked up at the sky and marveled once again at the beauty of the evening colors; pink clouds, shades
of blue darkening, and that wonderful golden glow. It was very quiet and
very still. I began to feel very much one with the earth, the sky, the
plants, the air. Nothing was separate. We were all one. A great horned
owl was hooting. I looked for him in the trees, but couldn't see him. As I
became more and more in tune with my surroundings, I sensed that something
was moving into this space that had not been there a moment before. A
vision of a bear came into my mind. It was starting to get a little darker
and I began to have an uneasy feeling. I planted a few more pansies,
wanting to finish the job before it was too dark. I stopped planting for a
moment and looked off into the front yard. There he was...a black bear!!!

My 11 month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Shogun saw him a moment later.
Shogun ran toward the bear, barking like crazy. Luckily, he stopped 20 feet
away from the bear. I began screaming, "Shogun, Shogun, Shogun," and
started clapping my hands together, making as much noise as I could. The
bear turned and ran off and Shogun ran back to me.

I began to pick up my shovel, trowel, and hand rake. Jessica Johnson, our
next door neighbor came out onto her porch with her kids. She yelled over,
"A bear just walked through our back yard!" With that, I pulled the trash
barrel into the garage and closed the garage doors. Looks like it is time
to bring in everything from the refrigerator in the garage.

Well, I thought we were going to make it through the whole summer this year
without the bears. We will just have to be a little more careful and
respect our "wild" neighbors.


Marty Vyn Boennighausen