Last night around nine I remembered I’d forgot to pick up the mail and on top of that I still needed another 3000 steps to get my self-imposed 12,000 a day so bundling up and grabbing my i-pod (I’m listening to Gibson’s latest novel) I sat out on the mile to the mailbox. On the way back a truck came bouncing out the driveway – the son of one of our long term neighbors. He saw my light and stopped.
“It’s not smart to be out this time of night,” he told me, “There are coyotes on the loose.”
“Not that many,” was my answer ( The picture is of the only coyote to ever walk in front of one of our wildlife cameras, and while bears are a little more common its seldom that I see or get a wildlife camera photo or more than one or two a year) “and besides, since when are coyotes a threat to people?”
He answered. ‘A coyotes killed a person last year and I stopped getting exercise except in the gym now. Right here I saw momma bear and her cubs. I saw them twice. Once here and once at the turn off to your place. And you know how dangerous they are.”
Beginning rather unpolitical I told him I didn’t and from there launched in to several personal stories of bears running away when they saw people. I told him the story of the night I chased the bear away from the day’s left over vegetables by chasing him/her down the driveway and everytime she slowed I would pelt her with an apple. I was wound up and going to tell him more stories but saw he had stopped listening and anyway he had decided that wild animals were dangerous and there was nothing I could say to change his mind. I stopped talking to my self “The truth of the matter,” I closed up by saying “about the only thing that’s going to get you in the woods at night is your own imagination.”
I don’t think he heard that either.