Radio Heartland has tickets to a concert featuring Bruce Molsky and Ale Möller at the Cedar Cultural Center this Thursday, May 27th at 7:30pm.
I was happy to receive a text message in the middle of the night from Bart the Bear, still roaming the north woods with a cellphone he found at an abandoned campground. It has been about one month since the last time Bart wrote. Last time, he forwarded a You Tube video, offering his feelings about animals wearing clothes - he's against it.
Yesterday I texted him to ask what bears do on very hot days. Bart's answer has already been translated from Ursus textish to standard English.
Hey. Bart here. Boy oh boy. Hot days are not nice for bears. Mostly I lie around in a shady spot in the woods. I dig out a little hollow in the dirt and the leaves so I can sleep and wait for the sun to go down. If you know any hikers, tell them to stay on the trail, OK? Real important. Get off the trail and you could step on a sleeping bear's head! Then there's lots of growling and running and screaming, and everybody gets even hotter. Not fun. Stay on the trail.
At night I try to find campsite leftovers.
One good treat I really like is the plastic box. Sometimes the box has food in it - custard and pie and raw meat and good stuff like that. And always there's ice! Ice is nice. We don't see it in the woods after the middle of April, so I'm always real happy to find a few frosty chunks in the plastic box. Stick frosty chunks in your leg pits and that'll cool you off real quick.
And if people see you tearing open their plastic box, sometimes they'll run and get in the car and roll up the windows. I like when the car starts to hum and drip water, because that means it's getting nice and cool INSIDE. Mmmmmm. Pull the door off and crawl inside - it's really fun. Plus, you get to see the people doing even more running and screaming. And in the cool box, there's cup holders! Sometimes with cups still in them, and in the cups - sweet, sweet, sweet!
Also, sometimes I can re-charge my phone while I wait for the ranger.
I do like it when friends come to visit, so if you're in the woods, bring a plastic box with ice and be sure to say hello.
And leave the keys in the car!
I wrote back to Bart and told him thanks for the tips - I would most certainly not follow his advice.
What are your preferred techniques for staying cool on a hot, hot day?
I received a long overdue text message from the woods this morning, full of the usual techno-jargon, abbreviations and misspellings. For your reading pleasure, I've translated it below.
I'm out of my den in case anyone cares.
It's been pretty warm and dry this spring, and then we got some rain. Good thing. Only you can prevent forest fires!
I'm not a big fan of fires of any kind out in the woods, 'cause fire is dangerous and we live here! Some bears are actually OK with it, because a campfire is a place where humans get real casual about food. To me, there are some risks worth taking to get a s'more, but burning down the house isn't one of them.
I found a new phone at a campsite last week, and this one has the internet so I've been able to look at videos.
Here's my favorite so far.
Anything that takes The Three Bears down a notch is OK by me. People make a lot of assumptions about bears based on the silly stuff they read and see - not much of it comes out of real contact.
I like the Smokey the Bear ads best when you don't see him. He's pretty much a good public image for bears, but the clothes don't make sense. Why pants only? You never see him wearing a shirt. I don't know if you've thought much about the things bears do in the woods, but take it from me, pants would be a hassle. A nice shirt? I could work with that. Pants, not so much.
Otherwise, whenever you see bears wearing clothes they do it as kind of a joke. Like in that You Tube video, - the mom with the apron and the dad with the too-long tie. And who wears suspenders anymore? Dress nice or not at all, that's what I'm saying.
Sorry about being so grouchy. That's another bad bear stereotype with a little bit of truth to it, especially early in the spring. I'm trying to cut back.
I guess you can see there's not a lot to do yet - stuff is just beginning to grow. Don't know how I spent my time before texting.
Come visit this summer, but not too close!
I told Bart I would probably NOT be coming to visit him in the woods this summer, but I get his point about animal fashions. I admit to having put a shirt on a dog recently, but that was for medical reasons - to protect a patch of bare skin from the sun.
Otherwise, I've never seen an animal dressed up in clothes that seemed comfortable or approrpriate. Or stylish, even.
What's your reaction to animals wearing clothes?