This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. There are warnings about a lot of things when you travel. Watch out for rattlesnakes in the desert.
Don’t turn your back to the ocean in California.
Don’t jump in a lake with the alligators in Florida.
Also. Don’t go outside at all in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee because apparently a bear will be waiting to get you.
He may try to drive your car. Or steal your campchair. He might make you take him to the grocery store. Yes. Yes. Don’t mess with the bears. Be afraid. That’s a warning.
At least, that’s how we felt. So many persons told us to be aware of bears. And well. We kinda didn’t take them very seriously. We knew not to go on the hiking trails in the National Park because they tell you that dogs can only go on two trails. So we were being good about that. I’m the Sheriff. I have to follow the rules, you know.
So we decided to walk on a nice, pretty road in the National Park. Dogs are allowed on roads and picnic areas. So we were really enjoying our day.
Boy Person was at home doing work stuff. Supposedly.
And Girl Person decided we were going to walk extra far.
You see, we wanted to eat more for breakfast. We walked and we walked and we walked. The river was flowing, the sun was out and the birds were singing. Oh, it was a glorious day for all. Even the bears.
As we were walking, I saw him first. A happy lad of a bear. Frolicking and being a bear on a beautiful day. Digby had his nose to the ground and I knew not to alert him. We didn’t need for his howling to startle the bear. I was also hoping that Girl Person wouldn’t see him and get scared. But it was too late for it all. Girl Person saw the bear. The bear saw us.
Now. You may think that Girl Person would have wanted to take a picture of the bear before we started running. But let me ask you this. Have you ever went to someone’s home, scared them, took a picture and ran? I doubt it. And if you have, you. Are. Arrested.
You see, the woods is where bears call home. We are visitors. And so the best thing to do is not run. If you are a person, talk to the bear and identify yourself as a human. Stand your ground. Wave your arms. Do not run. Bears can outrun and out climb everyone reading this.
What happened when the bear saw us? Girl Person realized it was a baby bear. Which meant there was a momma bear close by too. The bear looked at us and took off up the hill. We kept walking. Slowly. Sideways. That’s how you do it.
Were we scared? We were. But it was a respectful feeling. Yes. There are animals and things we have to be careful of. We have to be prepared and realize we are in their home. It is not ours. We are not better than they are. Or more important. We don’t have a “right” to do what we want where we want when we are guests.
We may have only known the bear in the woods for a little while. But what he left us was a lasting impression. You never know what’s out there…be prepared.
And when you do see someone as beautiful and precious as a bear, or a rattlesnake or an alligator, remember them for who they are. An individual that makes our earth a mosaic of diversity and strength and mystery. Like me.
–Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle