Monday, July 14
The interior of the Best Little Trailer glows from the light of the full moon. I lie in bed before daybreak, watching the clouds drift above my window. I listen to Spike breathe heavily as he sleeps at the foot of our bed, his head under the back window.
Bridget is in her usual sleeping spot between me and the wall. She wiggles and stretches under the covers. All is well in the sleepy world of RVSue and her canine crew in a field of flowers above a meadow in Ashley National Forest, Utah.
What was THAT?
I jerk my head from the pillow. Propped on one elbow I strain to recall what I just heard and felt. Did I imagine something? No, no, that was real. I felt a thump. A definite thump. Over by the door. Good heavens.
I sit up and, like a vulnerable animal, I tune my senses to a possible threat nearby.
Someone or some thing is out there. From the bed I fix my eyes on the partially open window on the opposite side of the BLT. In the light of the moon I can see the field of flowers, a pine tree, the outline of the mountain, no movement . . . .
The window goes black!
Suddenly the BLT receives a strong jolt and rocks. The mass of black at the window takes shape.
“Holy sh*t! It’s a BEAR!” I gasp.
What the hell should I do? The bear moves away from the window, but before I can sigh with relief, he appears again at the back window!
Quickly I get up and close the side window and check the door. All the windows and the door are closed. The bear presses against the back window, wedging between the antenna pole and the glass, trying to find a way inside.
I reach in the drawer and pull out my air horn.
The antenna pole repeatedly slams against the fiberglass as the bear moves back and forth in frustration, hunched over the spare tire, pawing and pressing against the window. Spike sleeps undisturbed, his face about 18 inches under the bear’s nose. Bridget remains under the covers.
Sweet Jesus, don’t let that window break. If that window breaks, we’re in deep doo-doo.
It’s strange how, in situations like this, cold terror stops time dead in its tracks.
Two possibilities play across my mind like black and white movie reels.
The bear is going to push through the window, climb up on the bumper and spare tire, crash through the window and . . . . No, stop that movie! Or the bear is going to give up and go away.
The BLT shudders.
I stand poised in the aisle holding the air horn. Do I need to get the gun? As if the bear reads my thought, it gives up! Suddenly it’s not in the window!
The antenna pole wobbles back into place. I peer through the side window and watch as the bulky, black form lumbers across the field in the moonlight until it disappears into the woods.
I plop down on the bed in relief.
Bridget wakes up barking. “It’s okay, honey. It’s gone. Thank God, it left.”
I’m in a state of adrenalin shock. Well, no going back to sleep now. I turn on the laptop to read the time. 4:30 a.m. Might as well heat up a cup of coffee . . .
What a scare! So that’s how fish in an aquarium feel when the cat is pawing the glass. Gosh, the bear’s paw could’ve ripped right through the screen. It was only a few inches away from the opening. I think I’ll put bear spray on my next order with Amazon . . . .
Later that morning . . .
I walk around the field with the crew. At the edge of the field I notice something has changed.
Hmm . . . That log wasn’t over there. A depression in the earth, where the log used to be, is crawling with ants on the black dirt.
The bear! The bear flung that log aside, probably looking for grubs. That wasn’t curiosity shaking the BLT this morning. That was hunger.
Here I am, day after day, thawing meat for the crew, browning slices of liver, dishing out sardines. I should put a sign above the door of the BLT, “The Hungry Bear Cafe.”
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