Holiday weekends are always very busy in my neighborhood. About half of the houses here are vacation homes, and over the summer holidays almost everyone returns to their houses by the lake, so our little community’s population more than doubles in size. And since the road in front of my house takes people to the little beach and playground, there are lots of people walking and biking by. I look forward to these weekends. Peace and quiet is lovely, but watching people have fun and seeing the families and kids and bikes and strollers makes me really happy, too.
But anyway, amid all of this you will remember that I spent a lot of time on my porch this weekend. The weather was picture-perfect and I had almost all of Sunday to myself. So I was happily stitching away, looking up every now and then to pause and give my eyes a rest. Also, when I look up I see the field across the road and the lake glittering just beyond it. It’s really very pretty. And I like to people watch, too, so when I hear people I always glance up for a bit.
So Sunday afternoon my little neighbor boy, Chris, was standing in his driveway by his car, waiting for his dad and sister to come out of the house. He was just fiddling the way that a 5 year old fiddles. Kind of amusing himself and daydreaming while he waited. And while he was fiddling around and I was enjoying Lo, I glanced up from my stitching to see a good-sized bear come barreling out of the tree line in the field across the road. See in the picture below where I wrote “Right Here”? That’s where I first saw him. And he was running at a fast clip across the field and directly at my little neighbor boy. (That’s me and my mom in 2008, by the way)
So I stood up and started screaming, “Christopher! Run into your house! Get into your house right now!” But he stood stock still, probably wondering why his crazy neighbor lady was yelling at him and wondering what on earth he had done wrong. I shouted again, but he didn’t move, and the bear kept coming. Finally I screamed, “Chris, get into your car NOW!” And I think that then he saw that the bear running towards him and he jumped through an open window and into his car, and the bear passed his car and just kept going.
At that point his dad came running out of the house and of course his first thought was that Chris was in trouble. While the dad, Jim, was running out, he had seen a black blur going past the car and had thought it was a big dog. But Chris was in the car and shouting, “Dad, a bear! A bear! I saw the bear!” And I tried to explain, but I was kind of shaken and scared and at a loss for words. Right then, Chris was actually making more sense about it than I was!
In retrospect, I realize that with so many more people around for the holiday, somebody must’ve been hiking behind the woods and probably scared up the bear, who was sleeping the day away behind the trees. No doubt the startled bear was running away from a person or a dog or whatever, and not at my little neighbor. So I didn’t think that the bear was out to attack Chris, but I was afraid that the startled bear wouldn’t see the little boy standing near the car and who knows what a frightened animal will do when it encounters something that startles it even more?
Well anyway, everyone knows how loud I can scream now. Those kids don’t know it, because they’re too young, but when my kids were younger and swimming in the lake and fooling around or doing something dangerous, I was the LOUDEST mother on the dock. People in boats down the lake could hear me yell (my command of choice was, “Hey! Knock it off!”) I’d see boaters look up startled from their canoe paddles and fishing rods…I could sound pretty commanding. But poor little Chris, who only knows me as the lady who sits on the porch and sews and buys his Cub Scout popcorn, boy – was he ever surprised!
Meanwhile, his family is treating me like I’m some kind of hero. And that’s really totally crazy because I didn’t actually do anything and it was just lucky that I happened to sitting on my porch, enjoying the day and stitching. And it was lucky that I happened to glance up at that moment. It wasn’t like I catapulted out of my chair and over the deck rail, covered the 50 feet faster then the bear, flew over their retaining wall and flung my body in the bear’s path. I just yelled like a maniac.
Or maybe I did all of that and I’m just not telling you about my superpowers…Or maybe Lo has some kind of supernatural thing going that senses bears and that made me look up. Yeah. That’s it. And now whenever I look at Lo, I’ll think about that bear. And when I’m really old and someone asks me about the Lo sampler, I’ll be able to say, “Funny story about that sampler….”