birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Early Warning

I can only think of one encounter with a non-domesticated animal. In 1999, I was hiking in Grand Teton National Park with my then-boyfriend, Paul. We had talked about, but were not exactly planning, to get married the following year.

We had taken a boat across Jenny Lake, climbed up some distance and starting walking through long canyon. There were rock slides on the canyon wall to the left of us, close enough to see, but we weren't endangered by them. After about 30 minutes, we encountered a man running the other way.

"There's a bear up ahead!" He said. "She has two cubs."

Without waiting, I spun around and walked as quickly as possible toward the boat launch. Paul followed. A few minutes later, I noticed the word BEAR scrawled into the dirt, with an arrow pointing toward us.

"Did you see this before?" I asked.

"Oh...yeah..." Paul said.

"You DID?"

"Umm, yeah."

"You saw this, but you didn't tell me you saw it?"



"I knew you'd freak out."

I walked away as fast possible, the crescendo of falling rocks covering my words "We are so. Done."

But we weren't. His ultimate deception looked exactly like this one, though. Why did I wait for it?


Wild Animals I Have Known

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