"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hare in the AM. Bear in the PM.

Yesterday consisted of lots of legislating, bracketed by two wildlife encounters.

When last I wrote, I was on my Tartan Day lunch break, wishing I were at the Lodge with the snowshoe hare I'd spotted. Things didn't look good for a short session. It took all morning for the House to deal with two education bills. (A kindergarten funding bill and an adequacy costing bill.)

Returning to Reps Hall, we carried on with other things. Like requiring youth and children to wear age- and size-appropriate head-safety helmets on snowmobiles and ATV's and OHRV's. Requiring home inspectors to be licenced. The usual stuff.

And then we prohibited a procedure called resomation, after a tortured and gacky debate. It wasn't a topic we enjoyed discussing on a full stomach. You probably don't need to know about resomation, unless you're into creepy medical stuff and forensics like my ex-doctor bestselling author friend Tess Gerristsen--who probably already does. If you want some basic info, go here. We decided the Granite State didn't need to be the first one in the US of A to legalise this procedure, used in Europe for the mass disposal of mad cows and such. I think it was the comments linking "vermin" and the residue of resomated bodies that did the trick. That particular quote was printed in this morning's paper--I stumbled across it while eating breakfast. Gack.

Our last bill of the day was the one that drew an interested crowd of activists and the television cameras and other media: House Resolution 24, urging the Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The committee that heard the bill judged it Inexpedient to Legislate.

I received around 200 emails urging me to pass the resolution. Of those for which the writers identified a location, most came from PA, and a fair number from the way west--OR, WA, CA. About 3 of those emails originated in my own state. And I got only 1 from an actual constituent.

There was an impassioned and well-reasoned speech by the prime sponsor. Some thoughtful and cogent objections from both the majority and the minority. In the end, the resolution was tabled. In effect, the thing--if not the sentiments, which probably most of the majority shared--is dead.

It was a long afternoon, and after the session there was a legislative reception hosted by the highly leveraged and financially unstable entity that is buying out Verizon's telephone lines in NH, VT, and ME. Having received voluminous correspondence and petitions from my constituents and other citizens of this state opposing the sale, and having myself expressed strong opposition to the Public Utilities Commission on more than one occasion, I chose not to attend. On principle. These gatherings are standard and I can't fault the prospective owners of the land lines for wanting to ingratiate themselves with the legislators. It's standard operating procedure. But I just didn't feel like eating their food. Call me a sore loser, I don't care. I harbour grave concerns about this deal and its impact on the state.

The Chap and I saw the first hour of the Travesty ABC News Tried to Pass Off as a Political Debate, before tuning into American Idol, then back to MSNBC for post-debate "analysis".

It was nearly bedtime when we heard an echoing thud on the big deck.

I was on my feet and off the sofa in a flash. The sleepy-eyed dogs looked at me like I was nuts.


On radio and in the paper I'd been exposed to notifications from NH Fish & Game that our black bears were waking up and moving about and bird feeders should come inside. But, silly me, I hadn't yet put my intent into practise. I thought there was too much snow in the woods still. And our bear never shows up until May.


The girls were oblivious, but they raced upstairs with us. From the windows we could see the bear in the drive, an enormous lumbering black shape on all fours, moving away from the Lodge.

I grabbed the camera and stepped onto the deck, while the Chap held onto the dogs' collars.

One of my tube feeders, the one that holds safflower seeds, was swinging on its wire (supposedly too high for a bear to reach). A chunk of it was missing.

So was the bear.

I grabbed the intact thistle feeder and scooted inside.

This morning, I confronted the evidence.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Jewel learns what a bear smells like.

So does Ruth.

I'm guessing the bear--most likely our local sow--whacked the feeder with her paw. Usually she stomps on it, too, but not this time.

I've hanged/hung a different safflower feeder this morning, and the thistle feeder. But I'll be bringing them inside at dusk from now on.

As we say round here at this time of year, Something's Bruin in New Hampshire.

No really, we do. There's even a bumper sticker!

What's really embarrassing about this episode, for me, is that my legislative committee is...Fish & Game.

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