Trash Day Bear

It’s trash-pick-up day. A black bear ambles toward our wheelie bin. Because I am standing near the bin it looks like the bear is strolling up to me. It’s a yearling, taught last summer by its mother how to pry open the bins so he can pull out plastic bags full of food waste. He ignores me when I tell him to go away, just keeps sauntering toward the bin. When I drop my voice and raise my hands he changes direction and grabs a neighbor’s bin.

            The bear holds the bin with its from legs, like it is hugging a child, and pries open the locked lid with its teeth. Now nothing I can do will stop him from ripping open garbage bags and supping on out neighbors’ discards. Now totally habituated to man, the bear is doomed. Soon a police officer or fish and game official will have to shoot it. 

            Bringing frustration with me, I drive Aki out to North Douglas. Last night a storm from the Gulf of Alaska muscled through the Inside Passage and slammed into town. It brought heavy rain and a wind strong enough to strip leaves from trees and raise waves on the waters of Fritz Cove. We find shelter on a trail to old growth woods. I brace for a resumption of the wind when we reach the beach but there is not even a breeze to bend the beach grass. Off shore several rafts of harlequin ducks compete for access to a bait ball. They are still wild, still know enough to keep their distance from the little dog and I.    

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