Local hazards


Photo by Daphne Zaras

During a training meeting I was helping with last year I had a conversation with a woman who had been raised in Oklahoma. At the time, Oklahoma was in the news because of the tornado that had flattened a path through the town of Moore. The details of the storm were quite alarming to the New Englanders in the room, but for the Oklahoman*, the latest storm fit into a longstanding pattern of this particular flavor of extreme weather, and she was more matter-of-fact. It sounds like tornadoes just come with the territory in them thar parts.

No matter where you live, I guess there’s something that the locals keep an eye on. That conversation about Oklahoman hazards came to mind a few days ago as I received a message inviting me to the Police Station Training Room on Thursday night for a discussion about preventing conflicts with black bears.


Though we’ve seen similar critters, this one is courtesy of Wikipedia.

We get opposums†, rabbits, and wild turkeys in our yard, and deer are frequent visitors, but so far I haven’t caught sight of a bear of any color. Still, apparently there were 4 reports last week of bears getting into coops to snack on backyard chickens, and one report of a bear intent on rabbit who managed to open a hutch.


Also not glimpsed in our yard; photo by Mike Bender

I was about to say that it’s not as if we live off in the backwoods somewhere, but in fact that’s exactly where we do live. We’ve got about an acre and a half of woods to the south and west of the house, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the brief wildlife census listed above is “wildly” underestimated.

yard buck 2

Deer not too far from the headlights. Photo by el Guapo

Before the black bears, there was local concern over coyotes; after the bears, who knows what it will be? Nor’easters are one of our weather regulars, and we see the occasional hurricane, but we don’t really have what you could call a severe weather specialty.

El Guapo’s parents live in wildfire country in Southern Utah. El Guapo grew up in California, where elementary school kids do earthquake drills with regularity. I overheard someone talking today about the latest Hawaiian lava flow–the Kilauea volcano has been erupting since 1983. How about you? What sorts of things  “come with the territory” where you live? Did you know about such things when you moved there? Do you ever wish you could swap yours for some other place’s worries?

Warning in Witten, Germany. E/rol on flickr

Warning in Witten, Germany. E/rol on flickr

*There are some patterns for what folks from different places are called, but there are some surprises, too. You know someone from Norway is a Norwegian–did you know someone from Glasgow is a Glaswegian? How well do you think you would do on a quiz of what to call people from the 50 United States? You can use this list of demonyms as the answer key once you’ve put your pencil down. If you’re curious about demonyms for various cities, try here.

†New fact for me today: possum is sometimes the name applied to these creatures, especially in the Southern US, but possums are a kind of marsupial, so they’re much more southerly, as in Australia south.

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