About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Encountering Bears, Overcoming Obstacles

My friend Suerae Stein blogged about how an encounter with a bear on the road helped her face up to a medical challenge. Her post is funny, moving and powerful reading. It makes you think about how you meet challenges that are out of your control. And it hit home with me on a number of levels.

This summer a sow, or a female bear, and her two cubs chose the woods along Shady Pine Road for their home. My husband Mike gave me a crash course on bears:

  • It's hard to believe, but bears don't want to see people any more than people want to see bears. Make noise when you're walking and bears will stay away. Ring a loud handbell, belt out a show tune. (That was my idea, not Mike's.)
  • If you see a bear in the distance, turn around and walk away.
  • The riskiest time for bear encounters is when cubs are just beginning to venture out. They haven't yet learned to stay away from noise. A mother bear who thinks her cub is threatened is serious business. 
  • To ward off an aggressive bear -- a bear reared up on its hind legs and roaring -- be loud and make yourself big. Then get away, fast. 

Along with my antique brass sheep's bell and my library of show tunes, I often carried bear repellent, a type of ursine pepper spray:

Remove the safety cap. (It looks like an orange checkmark.)
With one hand, steady the can and with the other hand slip your finger through the ring. Aim for the bear's eyes and spray by pressing the black tab that's underneath the orange safety cap. Don't spray into the wind.

Thankfully I never had to use the bear repellent. It's a weapon, and like any weapon it can hurt the user if not used properly -- like if you spray it into an oncoming wind. 

A Powerful Metaphor
Back to Suerae. As she wondered if she reacted appropriately to the bear encounter, the bear became a powerful metaphor for a health issue that reared up on its hind legs. She asks readers to share stories on how they reacted to unexpected challenges. The unexpected challenges in my life right now: finding roadblock after roadblock while tearing into the plumbing of an old house. Some days you want to yell and stomp and make yourself big. Often, the best thing to do is turn around quietly and try again later. I'll keep you posted on how things are going.

Related Posts:
The Blogger's Serenity Prayer
Towering Trees and Rolling Oaks
The Disneyfication of Wildlife


  1. What a wonderful post, Susan. Thank you for sharing your story of your several "bears". I believe we all encounter some kind of bear from time to time and really need to take stock and learn from each and every experience and how we reacted to that experience. Whether it be good or bad. I wish you the best with your plumbing! :) ~ Suerae

  2. Good news! The plumbing issue has been solved and the bear has beat a hasty retreat. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Suerae -- couldn't have been done without you. Have a great weekend! Susan


Real Time Web Analytics