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Summer Bears

Before he died, my father said that  he’d come back to visit as a bear, and though I haven’t yet personally encountered one, members of the Ursidae family seem to be holding their reunion in our canyon this year. If one of them is my dad, he’s been living it up in high fashion. The Sand Canyon bears have been swimming in tubs of water, drinking cold cokes straight from a back porch fridge, and eating tasty scraps from garbage cans. One neighbor walked out on his deck in his new scivvies and bare feet only to confront a mother bear with two cubs. Later, when a bear went after the goats, his llama broke down the fence to chase the intruder away. The bears aren’t trying to cause trouble. It’s just that with the long drought and hot temperatures, pickings are slim up in them there hills.

After hearing about the numerous encounters with omnivorous black bears at a CERT meeting, I was almost afraid to go home. I’d been told to hold my ground, and fight back if I was attacked, but I was pretty sure I’d run. Spraying ammonia around the house was rumored to ward off bears, but pepper spray on the ground smells like food and actually attracts them. Also, we were warned not to wear perfume and other exotic smells. The bear might mistake us for a bag of candy, and that’s never a good idea.

When I pulled up to the house after the meeting, I ran inside, called in my dog, and battened down the hatches. But now that I’ve heard the most recent news—that one of the bears was treed by a neighbor’s dachshund and chihuahua, I’ll quit worrying. I have a German Shepherd, and I’m pretty sure a chihuahua-fearing  bear wouldn’t mess with her. But if the bear is my Dad, maybe he and my dog will recognize each other, the bear will stick around, and I’ll be lucky enough to get a chance to say what I’ve been longing to say one last time. “I love you, Dad, and I always will.”

Thanks for stopping by.

Big black bear in Sand Canyon.

Black bear in Sand Canyon  (photo by  J. Hamrick)


Visiting bear left his calling card on Jeanne's front porch.

Visiting bear left his calling card on a front porch (photo by J. Hamrick)









Thirsty bear at Jeanne's house.

Thirsty bear. (photo by J. Hamrick)

About C. A. Waldman

I am a writer living in the Southern Sierra region of California, U.S.A.

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