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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: September 8, 2021

Seeing What You Look For

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,




**********

Recently Mike called me in to his office to look at some video from one of our trail cameras. I love seeing the wildlife, and log every species we identify on our property in a little book. So when I saw what he was laughing at I was very surprised.

Marching down the main woods trail were four kids, maybe around 6 or 7 years old. We recognized two of them as some neighborhood kids, along with two youngsters we weren't familiar with. The oldest looking boys were carrying kid's aluminum ball bats, one had either a tennis or badminton racket and the fourth had some sort of stick. As they passed the trail camera one boy mugged right in front of the device in a most comical way.

The woods are an unlikely place to play any baseball or racket sport. No, it looked like the kids had "armed" themselves for protection against some threat.

A few days later Mike talked to the grandmother of all four kids, and mentioned our enjoyment of their unexpected appearance on the camera. She said the kids were probably worried about the periodic appearance of a bear in our area, so they proactively did something to protect themselves.

Some people may have had a different reaction, but Mike told her, "I love seeing kids out enjoying the woods, instead of sitting in front of a screen inside."

There are a lot of things that occurred to me when this event happened. None of us are particularly worried about the bear. We tend to call our neighbors when we see it, and they do the same for us as a courtesy. But black bears tend to be very wary, and I don't ever worry about them when I am out in the woods other than keeping an eye out for Moms with cubs. I think if the kids were seriously worried, they wouldn't have gone in the woods at all. None of us have seen a bear for many months, either.

It is comical, though, to think of 6 and 7 year olds fending off a determined bear with their sports equipment.

What really struck me though, was the good Mike saw in the kids out walking the trail. You hear a torrent of negative things about kids, and it would be easy to get in a habit for searching for and then finding fault.

You can choose to find the good if you wish. It is there, all around us.

Last night on my way home from the animal shelter I passed a home where on my trip in I had noticed an adult man and two teenagers installing a basketball hoop on the blacktop driveway. On my way home, that same driveway was filled with about six teens and that man, shooting buckets and looking like they were having a great time.

Memories are being made there ?? shooting hoops with Dad, enjoying a new outdoor diversion that will be used for a long time; maybe a young man from a different kind of family seeing what being a good father is all about. It was a sweet sight to me, freshly reminded by my husband of the magic of seeing the good.

It evoked memories of playing "horse" with my Dad at the hoop he put up on the barn cement at our house, a former farm. You had to watch your footwork, because when they tore down the barn the cement remained obstructed with the remnants of barn walls and gutters. If you didn't pay attention, you could take a pretty nasty fall.

Ironically just a few days later when Mike called me in to see video, there was a good-sized bear pictured on the same trail camera. He had passed through not many days after the kids, going about his bear business by night.

I sent a picture of the bear to my friend Mary, who had heard the story about the armed munchkins from us a couple of days before. "Oh," she laughed, "better call the kids with the bats!"

Most people are good people. Most kids are good kids. It is up to me to look for confirmation of that, it is all around me.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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