There’s news going around Brookline these days that a bear has been spotted several times in our area. One neighbor says he saw the bear (is it only one?) playing with the back yard swing he had built for his grandchildren several years ago. Another reported that their birdfeeders have been knocked down a few times and are now retired to the garage.

When I take my daily walk, I’m torn between dying to see it, and terrified that I will. “Oh, they won’t hurt you,” I’m told. “That is, unless there’s a cub around.” A strong rustle of nearby bushes gets my attention in a hurry. 

Several years ago we took a trip to Alaska where my older brother lives. He resided in Anchorage at the time and that is the major sized city in the whole state. The first day we were there our host suggested we go for a walk on one of the beautiful trails around the outskirts of the city. Alaska builds a certain amount of trailways for every mile of roadway that is put in and the one closest to where we were staying was 26 miles long.

“Terrific,” we said and strapped on our sneakers.

The trail was nicely groomed (not too manicured, not too wild) and it was such a beautiful day, I predicted we would hike all the way to the ocean.


Just ahead, there appeared a uniformed state policeman who politely signaled us to stop. “There’s a grizzly up ahead and we’re advising people to turn back until we can get it under control.”

Now, the rule is: if you see a black bear, yell and shout and scare him away; if you see a grizzly (brown, very big, very dangerous) play dead and pray very hard that you won’t be  dead any time soon.

We did indeed turn back and sprinted at warp speed to the condo complex where my brother lived. When we told him our tale he reckoned that the bear had found the city garbage dump and would need to be caught and transported to its own territory up north. Sure enough, the next day the newspaper reported the rescue operation: the bear was tranquilized and taken home.

Also in the paper that day, was the story of a honeymooning couple fatally attacked by a grizzly.

The key word here is “grizzly” and supposedly there are only black ones  around Brookline.

On a lighter note, I saw a bluebird yesterday for the first time in my life. It was so incredibly beautiful, my husband and I gasped with delight when we saw it and then sat motionless and watched it for close to an hour. It looked like a sapphire with wings. When I told our older son of the experience, he replied that the bluebirds around his Virginia home aren’t quite the thrill they are here. A flock of them seems intent on pooping all over his parked car every day in front of his house. He calls them the Blue Birds of Crappiness.