For anyone who didn’t see my Facebook updates earlier this week…I’ve got an interesting story for you.
First of all, let me say that I do try to be very careful about the kids playing outside. We have a fairly large yard and I encourage them to stay in the back half of it, away from the street, as the yard isn’t fenced. They also know that I want them to stay together — if one of them comes inside, I want all of them to come inside. I’m aware that there’s always a chance of wildlife showing up in our area (and I don’t mean just squirrels or robins!)
This is the kind of wildlife I’m talking about!
Wednesday afternoon the kids were playing outside while I was indoors doing laundry. I heard the oldest two come in to get a drink of water. I hollered to Calla, asking her to fill a sippy cup and take it out to her 2-year-old brother. I continued folding laundry as I noticed the dogs across the street had started barking excessively, which usually means they’ve spotted a deer. The barking continued and became more frantic, though, and suddenly my heart skipped a beat.
I dropped a towel in mid-fold and ran to the kitchen window. My instincts were correct — there in our neighbor’s yard was a full-grown bear, heading our direction. And in the periphery of my line of vision was little Boulder, standing next to the sandbox, pointing at what he thought was a big, furry friend.
If you’ve been to our home, you know that the sandbox is approximately halfway between the house entryway and the far edge of the yard. (I can feel the adrenaline starting to surge now as I think about what happened!)
I ran out the door, yelling at Boulder to COME HERE RIGHT NOW THERE’S A BEAR! I don’t know if something or someone had startled the bear, but he had picked up the pace in the two seconds between when I looked out the window and when I burst out of the door. And I don’t know if it was the 4-foot fence or the crazed mama that stopped him, but he froze in his tracks at the same time that I reached Boulder.
I grabbed my boy (who was cheerfully repeating “Look, Mama, bear!” over and over) and quickly walked backwards into the house. The bear continued watching us but never came any closer. I took these pictures from the front step after everyone was safely inside.
A few minutes later, three police cars showed up and the bear promptly climbed to the tip-top of this huge evergreen. We kept an eye on him the rest of the day but he stayed there in his perch. The next morning, he was gone.
Whew. (Do you need to check your heart rate?)
Looking back, I doubt that we were in real danger in this specific situation…since these bears are typically afraid of people and we had a fence between us. Regardless of whether the danger was real or just felt, there’s not much scarier than seeing my child potentially threatened and helpless! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for God and His gracious protection. And for the record, we’ve set up even stricter guidelines now for outdoor play!
To leave with something a bit lighter and happier, here’s a phone picture I took Wednesday morning after catching Boulder in the act…
That’s a guilty face if I’ve ever seen one!
Have a great weekend, and be sure to get out and enjoy nature!