Bears are showing up all around my neighborhood.
Not real bears — not yet. These are bears that have been carved out of dead and dying trees by amazing local artists — huge tributes to nature that look as if they belong outside lodges of yesteryear. Some residents don’t like the bear decor; some say it will summon the bears back into the forests where we live. A frightening prospect. Not the bears but the premise that decor attracts the real-life focus of its design.
I certainly hope decor does not summon. Otherwise, my neighbors and I have far worse to fear.
There is the 8-foot mechanical dinosaur we put on display for Halloween and have yet to take down. During Christmas, some complained. They said a Tyrannosaurus rex was not appropriate for the holy holiday. We placed a Santa hat atop the T. rex’s head and glued a long white beard under his chin. Today the T. rex clutches an Easter basket in his tiny, tiny arms.
As if T. rex decor summoning real T. rexes (via raising the dead? Zombie T. rexes?) to our neighborhood weren’t bad enough, now we have to deal with ferocious tyrant lizard kings that slide down our chimneys and steal all our eggs.
Across the street, a neighbor has a colorful wooden sign of a leprechaun with his arm around the Easter Bunny. They are holding out their free hands and offering gold and candy, respectively. Beneath them, the sign reads, “Spring Is Here.” Is that some kind of threat? Are we summoning mythological creatures to take our children over the rainbow? We warn our kids to stay clear of folks in white vans who try to lure children with candy; perhaps my neighbors must now also warn of the perils of white rabbits who hang out with green men and offer children candy and gold. This summoning decor must be stopped!
I, for one, completely support the folks who want to do away with the bear designs. Sure, they are adorable and add a lot of character to our quirky little town, but is it worth the risk of having such decor? In the garden in front of my house, I have a coiled snake that my mom made of clay in a pottery class. In that very same yard, I have seen snakes. Coincidence? I think not. The fact that we live in the wild, on a lake and next to a forest, has nothing to do with the obvious fact that my mother’s thoughtful gift has summoned the creatures to us.
What’s worse is that now, as the final season of “Game of Thrones” begins, a tattoo artist friend of mine has just opened up her own shop with two massive dragon statues in the front yard. Has she no concern for her fellow citizens? I can only hope that we, as a culture, have learned enough from the Targaryens to handle the dragons when they come — because, obviously, they are on their way. How could they not be? Everyone knows that decor summons.
Luckily, it’s not all bad. Sure, my little cove in the wild is about to become inundated with bears, dragons, kidnapping rabbits and leprechauns, and chimney-sliding T. rexes, but there are good forces at work here, too. At my house, at my son’s school and in many other corners of our town, fairy gardens are thriving. Naturally, they, too, must be summoned. If “FernGully” taught me anything, it’s that fairies can take on some pretty huge beasts. I also feel confident that the singing fish above every grandpa’s mantel will summon singing fish that will totally be on our side — perhaps singing such a great tune that the dragons and bears decide to have a dance-off rather than destroy the town.
In these heated and contentious times, I hope we can all agree that for every evil creature-summoning piece of decor you place in your yard, you must place two other good-summoning items of greater or equal value. If you must have a scorpion statue by your koi pond, please add two lightsaber-wielding garden gnomes to keep the scorpions in line.
For now, I will be refraining from going on picnics, will put padlocks on all our garbage bins and will remove all honey from my house. The bears are coming.