No matter how you approach the act of making a blazing fire, one thing is certain: that flame best get roaring by the time darkness settles.
For there be bears about.
Not just bears, but wolves, coyotes, foxes, and jabberwockies.
As the most recent bonfire burned brightly, I left to hit the hay (it’d been a long day). But I was told something slightly alarming the next morning.
After my departure, one of the canine sentries began to bark and howl. Apollo, a beastly black lab, had been prone and possibly asleep before jolting straight up to sharply bark twice and let loose a low croon.
It must have been an ominously loud sound after a quiet span in front of the crackling flames. What was worse, it came with some jittery movements and clear alarm. Apollo’s fur stood on end and the once-merry congregation began questioning the wisdom of being in the wild that night.
Even though they were a little spooked, everyone kept their cool and stayed a bit longer. However, as they loaded up their four-wheelers to leave, three members of the community smelled a distinct rotten tang on the air.
“Bear,” one of the congregants told me the next day. “It was definitely the smell of a bear that’d been eating salmon nonstop.”
No one actually saw a bear that evening, but one was undoubtedly close. There might’ve been multiple. If it was a momma bear with cubs, then we were definitely in more danger. People have seen bears on a regular (almost daily) basis, especially on the beaches where they tend to scrounge for sustenance.
Thankfully, we were armed and the whole evening was uneventful.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.