Towel on arm, mind in the future I headed for the outdoor shower. A wheezing sucking rhythmic breathing in and out brought me back to today. The pump for the artificial stream was sucking air, last gasps, lying exposed in the bottom of the black plastic tub. No merry tumbling of water over the granite rocks that form the eight-foot stream. No sparrows hopping on the wet stones, stepping into the shallow water to drink. I think it is a rather strange concept, an artificial stream, but hearing the water, it sounds just like a real stream, and watching birds play in it as I shower make me sublimate any negative thoughts I harbor toward it.
The streambed is dry, the hose yanked out and dragged across the rocks. I notice the wooden birdseed box has had the top pulled off its hinges and lies abandoned several feet away. I look around, and see a chair on its side.
That evening I remark how violent the raccoons had been the night before, more so than usual. Our current resident raccoons are fairly well-behaved, and we have an agreeably tolerant relationship. “Well, it was probably the bear,” Dennis said. Bear? What bear? “Tom said he saw a bear the other day, a small black bear.” Uh huh.
Picking tansy in the meadow the next day I saw Tom and Dyer. “Hey, what’s this about a bear?”
Dyer: Oh well yes. Black bear, looks like a newfie, maybe two years old, 180 pounds.
Dyer and Tom have a camp in the woods, not more than a quarter mile from my house.
Me: Cool, is he hanging around?
Dyer: Oh yeah. He was in the garbage yesterday morning. We watched from the window. Bobcat came and chased him up a tree.
I miss all the fun.