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A Wild Woman & the Wildlife. Oh,my.

I grew up in Oakland,California. During that time, I saw squirrels, birds, and occasionally smelled a skunk's presence.

When I moved to Chamblee,Georgia, I saw bunnies, opossums, coyotes, deer, squirrels, and hawks.

Now that I live in Pittsfield,Massachusetts things have changed a wee bit. Last year, one night, I heard a very strange sound outside my house...it was twilight and I saw 2 foxes running down our street, making the weirdest kind of shrieking sound.

I thought that was, well a bit strange. A neighbor said, yes," that is the sound that foxes make."

Looking across the street one day, in a neighbor's yard...I saw a brown furry creature that was not a cat, dog or squirrel. It was in fact a "Whistlepig" also known as a "Groundhog" We named her Wanda, from afar and have watched her raise 2 litters of "kits." Whistlepigs are named that, for the way they communicate with each other, thru whistling. Wilbur (another whistlepig) resides in our yard. After he emerged from hibernation, he was quite surprised to see that we had 2 lab mix dogs. They were also surprised to see him. They are separated by a fenced in yard. So the surprise continues.

Once when I took an outdoor yoga class by the lake,I saw an actual Eagle in the tree above us. When I mentioned it to the class, they said..."Oh yeah there is an eagle that lives at this lake."

I mistakenly thought I had seen it all, wildlife, that is...in my neighborhood. Until...

2 weeks ago while driving home up a quiet street near my house on a Saturday afternoon, an actual BEAR emerged from the bushes,looked at me like,"What?" and then sauntered to the other side of the road. As I exclaimed to my daughter (on a hands free phone call) "There is a bear walking behind my car..."

I had just finished telling Annica that after listening to a Wiser than Me podcast interview with Gloria Steinem and Julia Louis Dreyfus I had decided it was time for me to return to the wild play of my childhood"Now that I am 63, it is time for me to be WILD, adventurous & free..."After hearing about the BEAR, Annica says, "MOM,Don't get out of the car! Don't go near the bear!"

I laughed and said, "Annica, I may be wild, but I am NOT going to go near the bear."

She was quite relieved.

1 week later I was driving on a busier road on a Sunday and I had to slam on my brakes because another actual BEAR was running across the street, dodging cars and then adeptly climbing over the railing on the other side.

When I told my son-in-law, he said, "oh yeah, the Berkshires are full of bears."

Even as I write this, I'm like wow.

Here's the thing though, I think the message is quite clear, it is time for me to be WILD again. I may not know right now what that means exactly. But I will be figuring that out here in The Berkshires.







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