Bears are scary. Those claws and teeth, their territorial possession of any land they are on which you might accidentally walk into, their desire to eat the same berries that you wish to pick....Yep. Scary beyond all reason.
As a kid, I had some defining moments with bears, but all without actually seeing a bear. Once, when berry picking with my Mom and siblings, she thought she heard a bear and hustled us back to the car, except for myself, who did not want to be hustled until she said the dreaded words, "I thought I heard a bear," and then I hustled myself right into a sticker patch and got all the scratches one might expect from that. Another time, my Mom and sisters saw a bear in a neighbor's field, going after their pig, and the lady of the house came out and shot it with her shotgun. Said bear was hanging in the barn for any who wanted to see. I did not. Next, a bear got drunk in an apple orchard, and the call went around the community for all to come see it's funny antics, and I did not go. I refused to go. A drunk bear? Are you insane?
Those three brushes with bears gave me a life-long fear.
As a grown up, I have camped all over bear infested country, and I have seen black bears and baby grizzly bears and survived.
But every night when camping, I know a bear is sitting in our campsite, waiting for me to move, so it can come over and ask me how I'm doing.
I might have also read too many "drama-in-real-life" articles where bears tore open campers to drag people off into the night.
All of these memories were brought to the forefront of my mind, when my Mom casually mentioned that my aunt saw a bear when she was out walking her dogs. 12 miles from my house. Sure, she was out in country section of our hometown, but all I could think was BEAR!!! Too close!
This post inspired by prompt #3 at Mama's Losin' It!