Possums and things that bite …

Possum lovers – hop over to Susan’s site for a possum story!

Whenever we have overseas visitors, invariably, almost the first thing they tell us, after they get over the jet lag, is that Australia is a VERY dangerous place – poisonous spiders, crocodiles, the most poisonous snakes in all the world, kangaroos that disembowel you, and sharks, lurk around every corner. They know this because they watch the Discovery Channel. We, of course, find this very funny – but the boot was on the other foot a few years ago, when we visited Canada and took a trip up into the Rockies – in Spring – when the BEARS! are starting to come out of hibernation.

Now, I have no trouble admitting that I belong to the order of WIMPS – I’d read all the stuff about BEARS! in the forest, the importance of making noise to let them you are there, backing away, not getting between a mother and her cubs and …… the list of things went on. I was TERRIFIED of meeting a BEAR! – did you know they can rip your head off? And I don’t even have the Discovery Channel! Needless to say, our friends in Vancouver thought this was VERY funny (- but what would they know? They live in a city!) So we set forth, intrepid travellers. Every time we took a walk into the forest, my heart rate would go up to 160, my blood pressure would rise and I felt SO anxious. Every leaf that moved or branch that rustled was a BEAR!. I was almost paralytic with fear. Two weeks later, the BEARS! had still not been sighted. We were beginning to feel very deprived. We started to walk rather more softly, in case we scared them away …… and then, when we least expected it ….. we saw a BEAR! ….. from the car. It was sitting on the railway track eating grain that had fallen from a freight car. We flew out of the car – a BEAR! – down in the culvert – hah! – we weren’t afraid! As Grandpa Flea pointed the camera at it, it turned around and spotted us – it started to change position (so I thought) and my flight response went into overdrive. Before you could say BEAR! I was back in the car with the doors locked (great defence that one!). BEAR! went back to his dinner and Grandpa Flea took a photo.

Some days later we were on the Rocky Mountaineer. They have a poetry competition as a way of passing the time while the train sits for hours, waiting for the freight trains to pass on the way into Vancouver Station. Today, when I was cleaning out one of the MANY cupboards full of bits of paper, I found my entry. Here it is for your enjoyment or ridicule – I am no poet, but I had fun (and I now won’t need to keep the bit of paper as a souvenir).

BEAR! Phobia

We come from the land downunder, where skies are blue and sands are white,
And there are lots of things that bite – crocodiles and poisonous snakes,
Not to mention sharks that wait – for tourists on their dinner plates.
And yet it’s strange that we survive – even all the children thrive!

But now we’ve ventured far from home, to Canada where wild things roam
Apon the stony mountain tracks, waiting for a tourist snack.
I fear them here, I fear them there, but most, I fear those big black bears.
I walk with weak and trembling knees, making noise as I pass trees.
And every now and then I shout, to let them know that I’m about.

The days have passed, I’m still alive – I wonder where those bears all hide?
I seek them here, I seek them there, I seek those black bears everwhere!
I hold my breath and make no noise, I walk with ballet dancer’s poise –
And still those bears don’t give two hoots, about MY need for photo shoots.
You’d think they’d know that it’s just not, the way to treat the tourist lot.

But now, at last, I see a bear! He’s big and black with lots of hair,
Sitting on the railroad track, munching on a morning snack.
He hears the noise – I make to run – bears are really not much fun!
But all his does is lift his head – looks at me with great disdain
Turns his back and eats again.

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