It’s late in the evening on a cold, clear winter night, twenty-five years ago. The phone rings.
You answer, but no one says “Hello,” or your name, or anything but “They’re out.” Then the caller hangs up.
You turn to your spouse and say, “They’re out.” Both of you hurry for the door, maybe—or maybe not—grabbing a jacket on the way. Certainly not gloves or hats. You turn off the porch light on the way out the door.
You hurry to the darkest place in your yard and turn your face towards the mountains to the north. And gasp.
Across the sky the Aurora Borealis is choreographing a splendid llight show. Green and red and yellow shimmers and dances in streaks and curtains and clouds against a black backdrop sprinkled with sparkling stars.
The phone call was the neighborhood alert system, telling all the Northern Lights were out.
That same system came into play when someone spotted bears or wolves on the nearby mountains.
Times change. Neighbors move away or pass away, and maybe the alert systems break down. Or, maybe the system changes with the times.
Technology has brought changes to the neighborhood alert chain. Witness the following recent e-mail exchange.
In case you don't already know: we have a young, garbage-eating,
blonde grizzly in the area.
Hana and I came home from our five-day
hike Resurrection Pass
yesterday (Friday), only to be awakened around midnight by a grizzly
crunching through our recycling. It was startled by my air horn but
didn't scare off. There were shouts in the neighborhood, gun shots,
and lots of barking. Those didn't scare it off either. I notified the
Perhaps one of you has an update?
That young grizzly is still around and will undoubtedly end up getting
An idea: if we all call Fish and Game about relocating it, they may
feel enough pressure to do so.
The bear was eating on the side of the road at Mile 35 (between the swimming hole and Lindquist’s road) this morning at 06:30. Didn't care the cars were stopped watching it. Fun to watch. Do not think that it has a long lifeline.
Jeanne [who picks up litter along this stretch of road] and joggers, please be careful and alert.