Monday, May 21, 2018

Lions and Coyotes and Bears, Oh, My!

Summer has arrived early at Swan Creek. The flowers are in full bloom, we’ve had record high heat, and the bears are already running amok. It's usually not until July or August that we see them. Last summer I ran one out of our yard with a pot and a wooden spoon. A few summers before that was the scary incident on the 4th of July. I still don't know why the fireworks didn't keep them away the three times we ran it off. A few weeks ago, a mother bear and at least one cub came into the yard, turned over every trash barrel in the neighborhood and took the neighbor’s last chicken. I took pictures of the bear tracks left all over the yard.

We can’t let our children go outside by themselves anymore. But if it weren't for the bears, it would be the mountain lions, or the wolves, or the coywolves. Some people are envious of our quiet, rural country life where every wild animal wanders through the yard whenever it wishes. They should try sleeping here in the winter with a coyote parked outside the bedroom window howling all night in an effort to lead the dogs away. We’ve joked about moving to town where our daughter could play ball in the middle of the street and be safe, like “normal” children. She’s not allowed to go out to the swingset beside the house by herself. About a mile away, the neighbors report never seeing anything more than the occasional cow wandering through the yard. That's the difference of living in the "holler".

Not long after the trash barrel incident, a lone bear came into the yard during the day and the dog ran it over the hill. Thankfully, we’d just gotten rid of all the chickens. A coyote was coming into the yard before church every Sunday and circling the pen. None of the hens had laid any eggs in a long time (stress, maybe?) and we were getting tired of worrying about them. Now we just have a dog and the hummingbirds to care for.

That's how I like it.

We're not farmers. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, and flowers, but just enough to say that we're growing something and for my daughter to see that food comes from the ground and not a grocery store warehouse. I still have high hopes of growing some coleus plants from seed and saving them to plant from year to year. It's something I used to do, and I'd like to recapture that bit of myself, if at all possible. Maybe then I could pretend that I don’t have a love/hate relationship with the outdoors.

For some reason, it seems like the more we look forward to a season, the faster we get tired of it and are ready to move on to the next. I wonder if that's human nature, or just me being spoiled. I love the Ozarks and my home here at Swan Creek. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. My daughter says she wouldn’t want to leave Missouri even for a vacation. (One of these days I WILL see that ark in Kentucky.) But it makes me wonder if she'll remain that way into adulthood.

A mother can hope.

And even with the bears, there’s still a lot to look forward to in the coming hot months, like our favorite swimming hole at the creek. 

No comments:

Post a Comment