The other day I saw something move outside from the upstairs bedroom window. I called to my husband, “It’s the bear!” and we scrambled to the window to get a better look, but then we didn’t see anything. We headed downstairs and turned on the outside lights. I put on my glasses because it was dusk and my vision isn’t too keen in the dark. And there it was! No, sadly for me, it was not the bear that’s been spotted around town, but a big, beautiful white-tailed deer. Exciting to see in the front yard, yes, but not what I wanted.
Apparently black bears wander in and around the town of Norfolk, CT, on a regular basis, and everyone keeps seeing them except for me.
I find this wholly unfair because I LOVE BEARS!
When I was three-years old, I fell in love with the polar bear at the Philadelphia Zoo and I have never looked back.
When I started working for a research group back in the early 2000s, I was asked by one of my coworkers to name my favorite wild animal. I said, “POLAR BEAR!” and then she asked me to explain why. I told her it’s because they are white, adorable, fun, and they like to play in the snow. Turns out that was a “psychological personality test” and I just explained to everyone at work how others see me.
For reference, if you want to play this game at home, you can also ask, “What is your favorite domestic animal and why?” That answer determines how you see yourself. My answer to that question was dog, of course, and then I said it’s because dogs are loyal and always happy to see you.
But, I see plenty of dogs every day all day and while this is great fun for me and I would never want to not have a dog to play with, I long to see a bear ambling down the street. One of my favorite children’s stories I’ve written thus far has to do with a bear breaking into to someone’s house to take a look around and unlike many of my children’s stories, this story was not inspired by observations from my daily life (oh, how I wish!), but it came solely from my love of bears.
It feels like every day someone comes into the café where I work and mentions a bear sighting. Someone saw them on Route 44! Another saw one on Maple Ave! Not just one, but a mama and three babies! I know this is a lot of exclamation points, but I’m pretty sure a bear is my spirit animal and it doesn’t seem fair that everyone is seeing them except for me.
To add to my dismay, a regular came into the café just yesterday and complained that someone had let their dog poop in the middle of the walkway. As a big believer in karma, I felt once I knew about such a crappy situation (HAHA, pun totally intended) it was my job to clean it up. You can’t just leave a mess for someone else…only, I’m pretty sure it was bear poop once I got out there. Universe, why must you torment me?
My husband says I have to stop looking for one. Only then, will it happen. I suppose he does have a point, considering that’s kind of how we met. It was early January and I was thinking about the imminent end of my job as an associate professor. I had handed in my resignation October 1st, 2015, effective for May 31st, 2016, which may seem like a ridiculously long time but I wanted my university to have plenty of time to find a replacement for me and if you didn’t know, things move at a snail’s pace in academia.
I realized that given the life I was about to start (i.e., writing, wandering, dreaming), I didn’t want to find anyone who was settled with a house and lots of stuff as a potential mate. I had just spent months getting rid of almost all of my belongings. I remember thinking very clearly to myself, what I really want is someone who will travel around with me and go from one housesitting job to another, NOT a person with a house and job in IL. So I immediately stopped looking because I was on my way out of there.
I kid you not, less than one week later I attended a writers group at a local college where the group always goes for a little socialization afterwards at an in-town restaurant. I walked into the restaurant, sat down at the bar, and on my right-hand side sat my future husband. He was in town for work and he had asked his colleagues for a recommendation about where to get some good old-fashioned Chicago Deep Dish pizza.
A few weeks later we eloped in Nashville. So, I think it’s clear I need to do something similar with my bear quest.
I am now putting this out there to all the bears:
Bears, I love you! I long to see you from a distance while you romp and play in the wild. If you could be doing funny antics, that would be awesome, too, and if you give me enough time to get out my phone to take a picture so I can post it in my blog and on social media, I would be ever grateful. Thanks! Love, Kelly