The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bears Beware

My last blog was dedicated to my favorite place on Earth: the family camp where I have worked for five years. I described all of its majesty and its importance to me. Blissful as it may be, my summer escape is accompanied by some of the drawbacks that come from living in a natural setting. Fast-moving wildfires threatening evacuation cause us to pray the winds will change and take with them the ash that spills from the sky, while wild animals run rampant, often coming a little too close for comfort. The black bears of Stanislaus County, many of which are actually brown, have been known to make appearances in the home we’ve created from their habitat. Luckily, brown bears aren’t the most ferocious of their species, and if you make yourself appear bigger than your furry friend while surrounding him with a cacophony of harsh noises, chances are the bear will run away. My first encounter with the bear (there was one who was especially fond of our accommodations) involved banging sticks on empty five gallon buckets while screaming and chasing in mob formation after the bear. Successfully running the bear back into a brambly thicket of darkness with nothing more than a hulking presence and five gallons of empty sound was nothing short of electrifying. But the fix was temporary; the bear kept coming back. One day, or night rather, I was out smoking a cigarette with a friend (smoking is a filthy habit that gives you cancer, emphysema, and a slew of other health problems while simultaneously being very un cool—don’t make my mistake of getting suckered into nicotine addiction) when we noticed that bold little bear plodding his way toward the grease trap, which was not all too far from where we were sitting. Easy as it may be to chase a wild animal behind a barricade of charging human bodies, the situation shifts its shape when you are a whole half of a bear-fighting duo. We knew we were better off mobbing the bear, so we put our cigarettes out (as not to attract any extra attention), and slowly snuck away behind parked cars. Confidently outside of the bear’s line of vision, we charged to find some of the strong men who lived to chase the bear. Our quickly assembled throng of young adults charged toward the bear with full force. He didn’t move. For the first time, I really experienced trepidation about the potential dangers involved in chasing a wild animal from its natural habitat. Luckily for me, our fearless leader remained absolutely equanimous in the face of danger, and forced him out with a fire hose. Victorious again we were, but one close call was one too many, and it was more than enough of a thrill for me; who knows if next time I’ll be so lucky. Words really cannot do justice to the thrill of the chase, and the only way to understand the adrenaline is to feel it course through your veins, but the cost in this case just may outweigh the benefit of the experience.

-Kelsey Laubscher


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