Man and Beast

Lion and Ranger in South Africa

There is bear scat on my driveway and around my property. It is spring and my apple tree is beginning to fruit. A neighbor who noticed the bear traces suggested today that I might not want to sleep out on my screened-in porch. I sleep out there every night except in winter. I love it; I love the air, the stars, the owls, the sounds of the forest, the fireflies, the crickets. I wouldn’t even think of not sleeping out there, except now he asked me the question. I truly believe the bear wouldn’t want me, it wants apples and berries. I’ve had a bear look straight in through the screen at me and then walk away.

I got this e-mail today with several pictures of a ranger in South Africa being tender and friendly with lions, jaguars, hyenas, tigers and such – the uploaded photo here is one of them. I don’t want to be naive, but I really don’t want to live in fear of these creatures either. I’m sleeping outside.

7 Responses to “Man and Beast”

  1. Nancy Whitlow Says:

    Mama says to remind you that Beth LaPlante’s brother-in-law’s wife was killed by a bear for no apparent reason when she was walking back to her cabin . That is not to induce fear, but to add to the conversation about possibilities and respect for the unpredictability of wild animals and the wisdom of the mountain folk who advised you. I assume you will not have any food out there, but those of us who love you hope you make the right choices.

  2. Karen Nilsen Says:

    I bet sleeping on your porch promotes beautiful dreams. It’s odd–some places around here have lots of bear activity (Black Mountain) yet I’ve never seen a bear anywhere near my house in Old Fort.

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Yes, had a GREAT dream last night. I’m 2/3 through your book and am really loving it, Karen. Such a great story, characters and great writing. I took it to Mexico but since I was there with a friend we talked until the week hours instead of reading. Now I’m off to Africa with 27 hours in transit. Will READ and be glad to have something I love to read!

  3. Alisha Says:

    Hey Tayria,

    I think I would be brave enough to sleep outside myself, however, if my dad warns me of bear scat, I would definitely wait a few days for the bear to move out of the area. The ranger and animals in those pictures more than likely know each other and I believe that is why he is able to be so tender with them and the animals with the ranger. The bear in the woods up there on the mountain never see humans, so you never know how they will react to seeing something they’ve never seen, like yourself. One may come and see you and leave, as the first one did, just because you weren’t interesting, but all bears are different and one day there may be one that hasn’t seen a human before and wants to investigate. That’s when you need the ball bat my dad mentioned!!! lol. Be safe sleeping on your porch and one of these days you may think about getting a dog you can keep outside. The barks will keep the bears away.

    Love you and have a fun and safe trip to Africa!!! I’m going to stuff myself in your luggage with my camera FYI! =)

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Hey Alisha, Thanks for your advise and concern. I definitely have a big huge stick right next to me as well as a heavy pan and spoon to make lots of noise. I hear the noise is what scares them the most. I do feel so safe tucked in there and just hate to give it up. The weather changes all night long and I get to wake up and see it all shifting around. I just love it too much. I’ll see you after Africa!

  4. Diedra Says:

    It is the fears that we create on our own that often do the most harm in our world. The bear wants nothing of you. You will be fine sleeping on the porch.

  5. Tayria Ward Says:

    Thanks, Diedra. This is my instinct too, but I seemed to get more cautionary responses from that one. You’re the animal whisperer person, so I appreciate your affirmation. Where are you now?

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