Friends invite me, acquaintances I haven't seen in ages coax and ask if we'll be going, and every year I'm reminded again and again of the time we did go to the July camp meeting.
It was the July of 2004, and we were up in the mountains in Colorado. Brethren were warning parents to keep children in sight, to not take food into the cabins, and the large black bell would be rung every once in a while throughout the day, its deep ring rushing through the forest and, hopefully, keeping any wild animals away.
Mommy admits to have been a little skeptical about wild animals really coming so close to human existence and wasn't worried about mountain lions or bears. Until, that is....
For some reason or other, our family stayed an extra day on the campgrounds after everyone had left. Everyone. We were alone. The silence that lingered was strangely deafening and as we were to leave only the next morning and everyone had left early that morning...Victor (3 years old at the time) and I (9) were quite..bored. So while daddy rested, mommy decided to entertain us with reading stories in our cabin. So, Larissa had to go bring the story books from the car. Now, I've always been a bit..jumpy, skittish, fearful. (I blame my overactive imagination), so when I came running and puffing back into our cabin claiming to "Have seen something moving in the woods beside the car." My mother wasn't worried. "When you're scared," she calmed me, "everything seems to be moving or dangerous." And so the afternoon was spent with stories that took my vivid imagination far away from shaking bushes. Until...
Before bed, mommy decided to take us to the main building to wash up, return the books back into the car and get ready for bed. We got as far as the car when the nearby bushes began to produce quiet rustlings. Mommy stopped. Victor clinging to her hand halted, and a skipping Larissa came to a skidding stop. Three pairs of eyes turned to a certain trembling bush which happened to be parting. And there, a little furry brown face appeared. First a wet black nose, then two beady black smiling eyes.
Mommy swooped Victor into her arms, clasped my hand and we ran as fast as our legs would carry us back to our cabin. (Obviously when panic sets in, you forget that bears can run alot faster than you ever could.) My father was awakened by my wide-eyed mother, and the next morning (after quite a sleepless night for my alarmed mother) when we again passed by the main building to ring the bell one last time and for the last bathroom stop, we could see pairs of little paws...beside pairs of..not so little paw prints. The bears' strong musk still lingered after them.
We left, and arrived home safe and sound thank God, but when this story was retold to my uncle, his response, (to my mother's chagrin) was"Why didn't you take a picture?"
So, this time on our trip to Keremeos, we had the opportunity to see bears...on the side of the road. And this time, we did take pictures! (Of course, we happened to be inside a car this time..and on the other side of the highway.)
|This time, we took the warning quite seriously...except I made daddy stop to take a picture. (He stopped 3mtrs. after the sign...Oh well.)|
|On our way to Keremeos, we saw this big ol' fur ball. Which was quite exciting...|
|Mommy "with" the cubs. Honestly...if it weren't for her I doubt I would've stayed on this side of the highway...they were so close! I was dying to at least get to the middle of the road so as not to interfere with their "wild side". hehe|