Monday, October 12, 2015

This block's juuuuuuust right.

Fellow in the neighborhood sent out a warning:

"That block's too sunny. That block's too clean. This block's juuuuust right."

He didn't say whether he thought that the bear was my very large dog, Tralfaz, who has been compared to a bear before. (Quote from a county sewer employee as I was walking the dog: "Hey, it's a bear! Ha ha ha! It's a bear!")

But this was a real black bear that was seen wandering around the block in broad daylight.

I know that the American Black Bear is considered something of a joke compared to other bears in American territory; with a weight of around 240 pounds (cf. Grizzly, up to 800; Kodiak and Polar, well over 1,000), the black bear is smaller than many guys and even some dogs. Compared to other bears, the black bear is more like a super-size raccoon. Still, I would prefer not to wrestle with one, and I would suggest you not try it either, even if you are feeling kind of buff because you've been, like, hitting the gym.

We don't get a lot of bears in my part of the scenic Hudson Valley, even though we're not too far from Bear Mountain. Every now and then one pops up in town, gets a little too chummy with someone's trash cans, and then you get the cops and the animal control guys and the sleepytime darts and the bear is magically transported back to the woods, scores of miles away.

So far the presence of the bear has not led to any mysterious maulings or disappearances of small pets, but there have been odd incidents involving us. When we've taken the dog out before sunrise or after sunset, we've gone with my big police flashlight and an air horn. A couple of weeks ago the flashlight caused my wife to be mistaken by a neighbor for a burglar; fortunately the truth was discovered before the police were called.

I'd rather be mistaken for the bear than a burglar, myself. It'd be embarrassing to be arrested for being bear in public.

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