Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bear Heart

Recently we've seen a dramatic increase in our local population; bears are scrambling down from the high country with napkins tied around their necks. With limited rains food becomes scarce for most high dwelling  creatures and their hunger directs them towards the abundance of fruit that floods our valley.  Farmers aren't the only ones who suffer through droughts.  The bears are starving and winter has hardly begun.

Allison now grasps the sleepless condition that is usually only familiar to new parents since a handful of bear started to visit her orchard each night. Photos are in order, and though the bears would make excellent subjects, I'm excited by Allison's bear scare-outfit: boots, shot gun, and a nighty-- haute couture in these parts.

For every bear spotted last season there are about seven this year, yet they still managed to give Dev a thrill in their smaller numbers. Dev heard a late night clamor by the chicken coop, grabbed his flashlight, and raced to the rescue. He dashed inside the coop pulling the door behind him just as a bear grabbed the other side of the handle. 

After a few seconds of tug of war, Dev let go of the door, swung his flashlight high, and brought it down swiftly over the top of the bear's head.  Startled, the bear dropped to all fours, turned, and hurtled away. Beside wrecking havoc on Dev's sleep cycle, this bear took the entirety of our beloved chicken, Rosa's, tail feathers. We've taken to calling our hearty survivor Bear-Bare Butt. 

Across cultures bears represent courage and bravery, two things missing from my ife lately. Without my notice, defeat quietly and silently filled the void created by their absence and left me immobilized and disoriented like celestial navigator facing an unrelenting, thick cloud cover.  But today I surrendered to the fear and the soft vulnerability within, and like the first flickering of day light, my strength began to break through, hungry, eager, and waking from hibernation. 
This is Rosa, who had a close encounter with a bear.

Although the bear made off with her tail feathers she manages to live a happy and full life.

This is Dev. I live on his property. Every time I imagine him hitting a bear with a flash light I giggle.

This bear was hit by a car while crossing the high way late at night. She was butchered and frozen for winter meals.


  1. Hi Marian,

    I read your blog and wanted to post a response
    to it, but thought I couldn't since I don't have a blogger I had messaged you via Facebook.
    My husband and I stumbled across Paonia by accident last year and ever since then have been working toward living there. If it were left
    to him, we'd be there right now....I am slower to embrace change so here we are. I've quite enjoyed reading your blog. You are a beautiful
    writer and really capture the essence of Paonia's specialness as well as the beauty and struggle of being human in an imperfect world. I have noticed a sadness in your last few postings and hope you are able to work through whatever trouble is on your mind/shoulders. Sending
    positive thoughts your way. Yvonne

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      Thanks for reading. Maybe one of these days I'll meet you on person here in Paonia. How did you accidentally stumble upon Paonia?
      Thanks for sending along the good energy. It's nice to feel someone reach out when you don't even really know one another. Adds to the inspiration to embrace everything in life.

      Best to you too.

    2. It's me again....Yes, hopefully we'll cross paths when I am either there visiting my husband, Nigel, or once we finally moved there (hopefully in the next few months).

      We were on our way out to Moab last year, and Nigel had come across something about the area (he's a hopeful farmer) and wanted to pass through. Well we ended up camping around the area for a few days and then cut our trip to Moab short so that we could come back to Paonia.
      Then he went out to live there for the growing season this summer. I am trying to arrange my work so that I can continue to work and live there :-).

      Continue to be gentle with yourself....we're all in a continual state of learning and growing.