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Alaska Wittig Family Blog
Friday, August 3, 2007
Bears In Our Midst

Becky saw the bear first.

It was last Friday, and we (Becky, Michael, and Michael) were building a train layout in the living room. Becky happened to look out the living room window and said, "Look, a bear!"

So I looked up and, sure enough, there was a bear on our driveway. We watched it meander down the drive and across the street until it was out of sight. Becky was fascinated. Later in the day she said, "That bear scared me!"  I told her that it was okay, and that she's supposed to be scared of bears.

The next bear sighting was on Monday. I was playing the piano, which is situated such that I can look out the front windows while on the bench. This time, the bear (maybe the same bear, maybe not) was walking along the side of the house, directly in front of the living room windows, less than ten feet from where I sat. I called for Sheryl and the kids, but by the time they came out from the bedrooms the bear was around the corner and out of sight. I did carry Becky out onto the back porch and through the woodshed just in time to see the bear disappear into the neighbors back yard. She was quite interested, but clung to my neck very tightly and didn't release her grip until we were back inside.

Yesterday was the best sighting yet. This last time the bear was slowly making its was through our back yard out beyond the fence, liesurely grazing in the blueberry bushes (we have a good crop this year). We watched the bear for some time from the relative safety of our living room, and I managed to get some video as well.

It doesn't really bother me to have bears wander into our yard. This is their home turf, after all, and there are plenty of blueberries to share with them. I am especially heartened to see the bears (it is quite possible all three sightings were of the same bear, although the one I saw directly outside the window seemed bigger than the ones that weren't as close, which may just be a matter of perspective) when they're eating their natural foods, rather than looking for garbage. Of course, I know that most of the bears in this area are opportunistic, and the one(s) we saw probably would not have hesitated if there was any garbage out for them to rummage through.

I am concerend for the kids, however. While I doubt that a black bear would attack me, I am under no delusions that a hungry bear could very easily view a small child as a tasty treat. I do a good job of keeping an eye on the kids when we're out, but they do have a tendency to wander in their explorations, and they have been known to move pretty fast when they duck out of sight. I was pleased to hear Becky say that she was scared of the bear, because I can use that to keep her close when she's out with me, but Michael isn't old enough to know fear yet. Even when the kids are in sight, I'm a little anxious about what might be near them that I can't see, what might be seeing them.

We'll still spend time outside, of course. I may use fear to teach prudence and caution, but I won't let fear stop us from going out the door.

Posted at 9:35 AM YDT
Updated: Friday, August 3, 2007 5:51 PM YDT

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