What Ever Happened to Privacy?

December 16, 2008
By Carolyn Buesing, Hoffman Estates, IL

The day was dragging on with nothing to do. I carelessly walked along a rocky, gravel road, not knowing where I would end up. The heat from the summer sun caused sweat to drip down my face. Summer was always a pain, not only because of the heat, but also due to the annoying tourists the vacation months attracted to my home. Putting up with the many families who came to stay at the numerous resorts was the price of living near a nice fishing lake in Northern Wisconsin. I could rarely go anywhere in the summer without some traveler shouting out at me or giving me a funny look. I had started to get used to all the attention, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed the awed looks, only that I had accepted the certainty of receiving them. As I walked through the entrance of one of the more popular resorts, I knew I was asking for trouble. Still I hoped that maybe I could enjoy a peaceful day.
Casually and gracefully, I wove through the tall evergreen trees, continuing on to my favorite spot. The modern cabins, cars, and outdoor game equipment contrasted the glistening lake, enormous trees, and buzzing bugs all around. I spotted the large cabin I was trying to reach and moved towards the backyard. A bright ray of sunshine shone down on my destination, and I was thrilled to see no guests of the resort near my tanning location. The plush, green grass looked so soft and alluring, right under that sun. I couldn’t wait to get to my spot. Rarely could I find a comfortable spot in the woods to relax, but this spot had never let me down. The grass was elevated ever so slightly here; and with the hot sun beating down on the ground, the heat would feel great.
This was one occasion that I appreciated the heat of the summer sun. Slowly I settled into my spot and shut my eyes, listening to the sounds around me. The leaves rustled in the wind and the birds chirped as they flew by. Just as I thought I might enjoy myself for a day, I heard another sound that I constantly dreaded.
“Mom! Dad! Come here quick. You have got to see this!”
My eyes snapped open and I saw a young girl standing in a sliding glass door. Once again my day had been ruined by an outsider. I couldn’t believe how rude people could be. I understood that they were on vacation and not entirely familiar with the area, but everyone knew I lived up here. For some reason though, every time I was seen I was treated as if I was the outsider. I wasn’t a typical sight, but I didn’t deserve to be treated so rudely. All I really wanted was to be left alone.
“Oh my, I can’t believe this!”
As multiple people stepped into the backyard, each person’s expression changed from shocked to intrigued to frightened. Their eyes widened and their lips parted, not knowing quite how to react to me. All the yelling was beginning to get on my nerves, and I knew now was the time to move on. No matter how unfair I was being treated, I realized these reactions were inevitable. Quickly I walked out of view into the comfort of the forest. At the very least nature accepted me and felt my existence was a normal part of this world.
Regretting my decision to come into the resort, I knew I had to find a way to get out. The odds of seeing another family or person were increasing. Word would quickly spread about my presence on the land. I figured my best chance of getting safely out was to go through the woods by a tennis court. Then I could cross another gravel road. As I walked on past the tennis courts, my guess that news of me would spread was confirmed.
“Hey you guys, you’ll never guess what was behind our cabin.”
The word was out and I needed to exit as soon as possible. I didn’t want to move too fast, or I’d attract even more unwanted attention. Luckily I was born with light feet and could make my way through the forest almost soundlessly. Unnoticed I passed the tennis courts and heard more people talking about my appearance. I continued to follow the route I had planned in my mind and after a few minutes was about twenty feet from the road. The resort was on a large piece of land, but small enough that a quick exit was possible. I was just about to reach the road when I noticed a comfortable spot high in a tree. I decided maybe I could get some rest today, undisturbed, if I climbed up to the spot. I leaned against the tree, deciding on the best way to climb to the spot, when another horrible sound reached my sensitive ears.
“Whoa! Look! OH MY GOSH!”

This time the yelling startled me, and I jumped off the tree, backing away from the sound. I couldn’t believe that another family had spotted me. This time the obnoxious people came on bikes, slowing as they took in the sight of me. Bikers rarely ever saw me and I was annoyed that these people must have turned their heads at just the right moment to pick me out. I felt a twinge of fear as I realized how close I was to the people this time, only about ten feet away. I could never be certain as to the stupid things tourists would do. I hoped the family would move on quickly, due to the irrational fear people generally had of me.
They lingered longer than most did. Finally, after the fascinated gazes, they rode off on their way. I didn’t understand why they were so amazed at the sight of me. Really humans on bikes, in the middle of the northern woods, were the unusual sight. I was just part of the wild. The way all these people acted though, made me think they’d never seen a bear.

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