If you think this post is about a protective mother, you’re half right.
It was a BEAUTIFUL day amongst a slew of sloppy, soggy ones. After days of being shut in, the surprisingly sunny weather beckoned us outside like the boyfriend you just can’t quit: “C’mon babe, just give me one last chance.”. So, we did. Despite the clouds far off to the north, I layered us up, packed our snacks, and headed to The Toe with our neighbor. It’s one of our favorite spots, a beautiful landscape of lakes and caves and boulders and icebergs. I’ve been there in all seasons, from rain to snow and it’s gorgeous every time but when it’s sunny…it’s otherworldly.
Our neighbor and her dog Kosmo (who we call Kosmo Kramer because he moves with just as much gusto and with the wild limbs of the “Seinfeld” character) and Ollie and Leto and I set off, walking down the ski hill that I nine times out of ten fall down in the winter. As we rounded the corner at the base of the hill I could feel it. Something was off. The dogs stopped, ears at attention both looking too stunned to say anything.
“What is it, boys?” We wondered aloud, scanning the two-tone landscape. It was brown and grey as far as the eye could see until in an explosion of expletives I loud whispered “Oh shit it’s a fucking Grizzly bear!”. The dogs took their eyes off it for a mere second to make sure we were turned in the right direction now (away from the bear) and then started to head towards it to increase the barrier between us and it.
The bear had blended into the landscape, the lightest Grizzly I’ve ever seen, and, minus the Grizzly who chased Leto through our yard this summer who was close enough to crack a whip at, this was the closest I’d ever been to a Grizz. And while the Grizzly had been closer earlier this summer, I’d been a mere footstep from the safety of indoors and elevated away from it on our deck. This time we were on the same level and far too close for comfort.
I felt my stomach clench as I wrapped my arms around Ollie, my knees wobbly beneath me. The hardest part about seeing a bear that close is that everything inside you wants to run and the only thing you can do is stay calm. We were quickly out of view but still a distance the bear could have made up in seconds flat. I simultaneously felt as if I could pass out and rip the bear to shreds if it came to it, a weird dichotomy of fearful and brave, fight and flight, all in one.
I called off Leto but they were still on patrol, placing themselves in between us and the bear. As we climbed the ski hill I kept looking between my child strapped to my chest and over my shoulder to where we came from, expecting to see a charging bear any moment. One foot in front of the other I told myself.
We got to the top of the hill and my friend went to see where the bear had gone.
I was definitely done with our walk whether the bear had left or not (our walk was a whopping 5 minutes but it definitely got my heart rate up) but there it was, unmoving, unfettered by dogs or our presence. And with the bear? Cubs.
I told you, if you thought this post was about a protective mother you were half right. It was about two.
On the ride home, Ollie and Leto tucked safely into the car, the clouds rolled in and a blanket of rain threatened to descend upon us again. The sun had come out and we’d answered her call but for the first time this fall, I was fine with cozying up in the safety of the great indoors, my little cub and I.
P.S. As I mentioned last time, we are about to hit the road! We are heading to Hawaii so we are in full shutdown mode here. Wish us luck! How’s your fall going? Any big plans or projects? Let us know in the comments below 👇🏻