I don’t like snakes. Spiders get squashed if they dare come around me, but bears? Bears scare the heck out of me.
When I lived alone in a wilderness cabin, hiking was a daily pleasure. One day, I tried a different path, going off up a mountain side and angling back into a gorgeous meadow filled with wildflowers.
And there was a scary rumbling, a warning of danger, go no further, there may be monsters. I tried several times to wade through the head-high grass to see what was on the other side. Each time the noise filled my head, and I turned back. I could feel something watching me, making shivers race up my spine. Finally, I gave up and made my way home.
I think a mother bear was probably telling me to go away or she’d get me. Never did see that bear, but I saw lots of tracks on those hikes, bear poop, too.
On one of those hot summer days, I also saw a herd of caribou. I’m not kidding, they were truly caribou, about fifteen of them, trotting down the Montana wilderness road at a stately pace. I think they had come from Canada, checking out their southern neighbor to see if they’d like living here. They must have decided it wasn’t to their liking. I never saw them again.
Nan McKenzie, April 2017