Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting Smart

I'm finally getting some free time. I don't know why. I think I'm just taking it as opposed to having earned it or having a lull in the action. There is always action. I'm always behind. Today, I should have mowed the lawn before it rained. I should have vacuumed Teddy's fur out of the car. I should have changed the sheets, done laundry, dusted.

Instead, I walked with Teddy today. It was a sweet day for a walk. I may have told you that I'm not a fan of enduring sunshine. I would not be happy in California, Arizona, or New Mexico, though I might try New Mexico some day because the mountains are so bare, seem so open to walking. Plus, there's a great art community there. I'd like that. I'd have to get used to the dazzling sun, though. I prefer clouds. Today, the sun broke through, then the clouds overcame them. Back and forth, the weather tipped. It was perfect.

I went along a trail I usually skip through without seeing. I stopped at a copse of trees, looked at the view of the falls, and considered sitting on the bench. I didn't, but I did get to looking at the bark on the trees. They were all messed up. Damn!

These trees had slash marks in the bark about five feet up. Why can't people leave well enough alone? Then I looked closer. Maybe they were territory markings of the black bear that lives in the neighborhood. I didn't see anything like a pile of garbage or a carcass that would cause territory to be an issue. I didn't want to see either of those things. It would have been ugly, but on top of that, I really don't want a bear to think I'm after its food. Still, I studied these scratches. It didn't exactly look like a kid did it. But if it were a bear, it would have to be a short bear. Fur stuck to the bark, tan fur. Not a kid, then. Well, black bear can actually range from dark brown to nearly blonde, but I'd never heard anyone around here reporting a light-colored one. All the pictures I'd seen on Facebook were very brown. So, if it were a bear, it would be a short itchy blonde bear. Hmmm.

I took pictures of these marks and sent them to Mike. His response? 'Cool!' Then, I wandered around, connected up to another of my normal trails, circled back around, and waved at the groundskeeper on my way out.

When Nick got home from school, I showed him the pictures too. I asked him if he thought it was some kid with a pocket knife or maybe a bear.

"No Mom, there's fur all over. Those marks are from elk," he said. "Look at the color of the fur. They're rubbing their antlers and it's scratching the bark off the trees."

Hey, when did my kid get so smart?

Thank you for listening, jb

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