Sunday, April 22, 2012


All my brewing posts must be pushed aside for the following important newsflash:

There was a bear in my neighborhood this morning/early afternoon.

I live in the capital of an EU member state. Even though the vast majority of Estonia is covered with forest and all the friendly/man-eating creatures that inhabit such ecosystems, I thought the largest city in the country would be immune to, well, bears.

Not so, it turns out. A large brown bear was spotted a stone's throw from here, near the very famous song grounds at Lauluväljak. A little while after that, the police received a report that it had moved just past us to one of the patches of woods nearby. Take precautions and stay inside something (house, car, bus, your own shell-like fear of bears), said the Rescue Board, and most certainly call the 911-equivalent if you see a bear.

We drove to a friend's house just around the corner, all to avoid losing our sweet children to a presumably hungry bear. I figured this was a statistical improbability, especially with the massive dogs in each front yard. I suspect the presence of a bear on our street would send them into a very loud frenzy, giving us ample time to seek shelter. Ample time to seek shelter from a bear. This was very surreal.

At any rate, as I was heading home, I checked the leading Estonian newspaper's website and cheerfully announced to the assembled folks that, no worries, the bear had been caught. That was my assumption, after all, when I read a headline that said "Search for Bear Has Ended."

Further reading revealed that emergency services just gave up looking. Call us if you see him again, but for now we are going home.

Well. Now I know why every Estonian house has a fence. It's not so much to keep kids and dogs in, but more to keep bears out, which is a useful feature of an urban residence: electricity, patio, sauna, and no bears.

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