Bearing Up

June 30th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

All right, Lisa. You’ve really surpassed my original opinion regarding your brave and adventurous spirit. Your curiosity, it seems, knows no bounds.

Last week , my sweet younger cousin Lisa called to tell me about her experience at her cabin in the woods which is just up the road from our mountain hide-away in the northwestern Catskills. Lisa often drives the 3 plus hours (4 from where we live) to seek seclusion from city life. Besides us for neighbors (when we’re there) about a quarter mile off, there’s another house in close proximity but he isn’t always there either, these being just vacation homes. Lisa’s on her own and just the way she likes it. Mom and Dad, retired now, are directly over the mountain, but instead of hopping in the car and driving around the mountain, Lisa sometimes chooses to hike through the woods to get there for supper. Oh, it’s still light enough by the time she makes her way back, she consoles me.

This is the kid who used to grab her sleeping bag and head for the woods at dusk for  “privacy”, camping at “the beach” no short distance away. The beach, as we call it, is a tiny area strewn with smooth stones alongside the river accessed by an old logging road through the forest. Like me, Lisa is a huge nature lover but so much braver. I simply wimp in comparison. I’ll never know where she taps into her sense of fearlessness. She’s also a bit of a globe trotter, thinking nothing of taking in a foreign country on her own. This year it’s Peru.

Now for Lisa’s latest adventure. A couple of weeks ago, just outside her cabin, she heard “sticks breaking” off into the woods. While my normal reaction would be to rush inside to the safety of the indoors and peer anxiously from a window, what does Lisa do? She goes to investigate the source of the sound, but (thankfully) finds nothing. Days later, she hears it again, “sticks breaking”. Whatever’s making that sound has to be heavy enough, she says, and we’re both thinking the same thing. But Lisa is undeterred. Once more she resolves to find out, and once more there is nothing. The following week she is obligated to babysit the family dog and brings him to her place. “Foxy”, a large elegant hunting dog, is a breed called Vizsla. No sooner does she let him out of the car, than he begins sniffing around and barks threateningly into the direction of the woods where she has heard the sound of “sticks breaking”. I knew it! she exclaims and heads off into the woods by way of that old logging road.

This time she sees it!

About forty yards away, excitedly reporting “It’s a big one”. Does she run? Not Lisa. They regard one another until she sees a smaller “kid bear” leap across the way in apparent play. Knowing the fierce protective nature of mothers, Lisa retreats, turning away and sprinting towards home.

“It was beautiful!”

is how she sums up the experience. Lisa, oh Lisa. Whatever shall we do with you? Don’t worry, I’m buying some pepper spray, she assures me, and never going outside without a stick. But she suddenly remembers that Grizzlies, while fiercer than the Black Bear, are aggravated by pepper spray, she wonders if it might have the same reaction on the bear with the milder temperament. Well, I sure as hell don’t want to find out! To think I walked all the way down to Lisa’s cabin the last time, only to find no one around and walked all the way back by myself is enough to give me the willies. Armed with only a stick and my cell phone. Hello, nine one one??? I’m at the corner of an Oak tree and a berry bush with prickly thorns! On the other side of that are a huge set of carnivorous teeth!!!! The line suddenly goes dead. Despite what they tell you (don’t run) I AM FLYING UP THE ROAD SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS!

If I only had a thimble full of Lisa’s courage. I could at least sit on my deck without looking over my shoulder. By the way, think they’re only at eye level? Don’t forget to look up!

So…………………whadayathink? What’s your biggest fear? You know mine……bear1

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One Response to “Bearing Up”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    Lisa is one of my favorite gals !!!

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