Once in a while there comes one of those events that has our jaws dropping and the more level-headed among us running for cameras. Note I’m leaving myself out of that last category…but I was able to borrow the pic below from another guest who never leaves home without her camera equipment.
On Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends we gather with friends and relatives for the bi-annual Pork Loin Cook-Off. As you can figure from the name, it revolves around men showing off their meat…grilling it, that is. There’s a lot of banter and bragging as the grills get set up facing the proper direction (yes, apparently that’s important. Who knew?) and lighting the brickettes. Then it appears to help to stand in a group staring at the closed grills while the meat cooks. I haven’t ever understood that necessity but it’s a time honored tradition among the males and I’ve never been one to mess with custom. Usually because I’m on the hunt for another vodka lemonade slush.
The weather Sunday was great, hot but windy. There was a lot of music, tons of food and liquid libations of all sorts. There was also an unexpected visitor:
One of the guests was driving down the road in front of the host’s house, about 200 yards away, when she saw a black bear jogging down the road toward her. She stopped, of course, and the bear veered off into a more wooded section of land.
Well, of course when we heard we all trooped down to where the creature was last seen, because hey, it’s a *bear*, and getting as close as possible to a wild animal seems particularly wise after several aforementioned libations. The rest of us were doomed to disappointment, however. No bear sighting occurred.
Until…about twenty minutes later. The host said, in an unreasonably calm voice, “Hey if you want to see that bear, it’s right there.” We all ambled to the front of the house, figuring he’s joking…and the bear was crossing the field across the street.
A bunch of us dashed across the road to get a closer look. My hubby and the host thought it would be a dandy idea to jump in a Gator and get even closer. The bear made it across the field and then stopped, seeming to ponder his next move. The road in the picture above is actually an exit off the highway. Cars were stopped all over it because people would see the bear and want a closer look. As you can tell, we’re rural here, but not *that* rural. The deer bouncing across the field earlier got little mention, but we get pretty excited about mountain lions and bears.
Eventually the bear decided it was going to cross the road to get to the next field. It passed within eight feet of the Gator, never paying the people any mind at all. And apparently it wasn’t a pork fan, because it bypassed the BBQ altogether. We should have told it we also had shrimp, fish, and fresh fruit.
I’m told authorities have been ‘monitoring’ the bear as it has made appearances all around north Iowa in recent days. I hope it gets back home safely. I hope some idiot with a gun doesn’t to go all great-white-hunter on it. But mostly I’m thankful to be living in a place where every so often, a bear can take a stroll across a nearby field and provide us with one of those awestruck moments.
I’m always delighted when I get rare glimpses of wildlife. What’s the most unexpected nature sighting you’ve had near your home?