A friend came up to spend the Fourth of July free of the encumbrances of modern civilization, and as we headed out this morning to our day’s hike I stopped and tapped him on the shoulder. There was the bear at the opposite end of the field right by my house. He was lumbering along, as bears do, though he was also covering ground quite quickly.
He was a fairly young and small bear. The same one, almost certainly that my neighbors saw walking back and forth on their lawn for a good chunk of the day. And probably the same one who has tossed my compost pile – now twice in just the last few weeks. I don’t eat any meat or fish or even eggs here, so I don’t compost any particularly troublesome things, but for now I’m not going to add anything at all to the compost pile, because it’s not wise to have a bear feeding station behind your house. And I feel all the more certain of this after having watched this bear walk around. I had a feeling that trouble was coming with this particular animal – there was even just something in the way he walked – not cautious, not alert, with none of the attentiveness of a wild animal. I don’t think he ever saw us – he certainly never listened to us or looked at us. He was acting far too comfortable in exposed human places for his life to end well. I could be wrong, but I think he’s likely to get a taste for human garbage, and get himself into trouble. Hopefully he won’t also be getting me into trouble, because if I get into trouble at my place I can’t call for help.