Bread dread.


During a rather exhausting yet fruitful dumpster excavation I discovered not one, but two, discarded loaves of stale bread that I had never come across before. Eager to taste my findings, I raced back to my cave with both loaves, still in their plastic sleeves, dangling from my mouth. Their stale ends bounced off one another like bells as I trotted through the forest. The crinkly sound their bouncing produced made me quite happy. I would have smiled if I were not so fearful to lose my bounty.

Once in my cave, I placed each loaf at separate sides of the flat rock surface I sleep on.  I sat between the loaves and sniffed each one, trying to decide which to try first. The loaf to my left smelled of seeds and mold. The loaf to my right smelled of pumpkin and dumpster juice. Both were so enticing. Both were wonderful candidates for consumption.

I was torn.

Which loaf deserved to be eaten first?

What if the first loaf I tried was so delicious that no other loaf could compare? Perhaps the second loaf would be disappointing. What if neither were tasty? Or worse yet, what if both were equally enjoyable leaving me satisfied for a short time but yearning for either to have once again?

A torrent of dreadful thoughts filled my head. There could be no way of knowing how to proceed. The lack of conviction I felt made my heart sink.

These loaves. These two potentially wonderful (or disgusting) loaves of bread haunted the very nature of my being.

I needed to properly ponder my dilemma. A nap was in order.

I sprawled out on my back between the loaves and tried my best to drift off to sleep, but the loaves would not let me rest. I knew they were there, waiting. They were waiting for me to decide.

I rolled over on my left side. The exotic aroma of moisture and seeds from plants I had never encountered filled my nostrils. My mouth watered. I reached for the loaf but stopped paw inches from the loaf. I wanted to tear open its wrapping and clamp my maw around its crust.

No. Not yet. I was not ready.

I flipped to my right side. The other loaf’s intoxicating smell tormented me no less. The familiar scent of pumpkins and sickly sweet liquid found in all fine trash receptacles beckoned me. It took every ounce of strength not to abscond with the second loaf and eat it behind the acorn tree near my cave, away from the prying eyes (seeds?) of the first loaf.

These dueling breads played their cruel game for far too long. There was no rest to be had.

I had to make a choice.

I told the breads I was going out for some fresh air. I asked if either loaf needed anything.

Neither responded, but they seemed content.

I wandered out into the forest and came to a sunny clearing. The foliage swayed gently in the breeze. Other woodland creatures chirped and croaked and tweeted around me. The world seemed at peace. I wish I could have been part of that world in that moment.

A robin landed on the ground beside me. It bobbed its tiny head up and down, hunting and pecking for morsels of food. It would snap up something in its beak and immediately drop it if the findings were unsatisfactory. There was a utilitarian rhythm to robin’s method that made me envious. After several rejections, the robin found a rotten berry and swallowed it down. But the tiny bird was far from satisfied. It snapped up a blade of grass and gulped it down without reservation. Next it ate a dried up worm followed by the meat of a cracked acorn. The robin did not discriminate as harshly as I had believed. If there was something the bird found pleasing to its palette (do birds have tongues?), that morsel would be swiftly eaten.

I realized I was being foolish. As a bear, I consider most things a food source. Just because the loaves back at my cave were new to me, didn’t make them anything necessarily special. They were food, plain and simple.

My choice had been made: I would eat both loaves. Perhaps even at the same time.

I thanked the robin and headed back to my cave.

When I arrived, both loaves were gone, most likely spirited away by some invasive forest creature (probably a raccoon and/or six muskrats). I was silly to think they would be safe unattended. They were too delicious for this world.

I was breadless. I had let them slip through my paws. But perhaps, I didn’t deserve such wonderful bread.

I ate some sticks instead. They were good. Just not bread good.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

 

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How to feel safe in the forest.


The forest is insanely, chaotically, erratically dangerous. There are so many things that can eat you. So many things that can burn you. So many things that can make horrible screeching sounds at you. So many things that might mock you just because you accidentally tripped on a rock and rolled into some mud and then decided to sleep there because why not? It was comfortable.

Since there are so many threats in daily forest life, it can be difficult to find comfort and solace in even the briefest of moments. Usually, I am on edge. I feel like I have to be prepared for anything the forest might hurl at my defenseless fuzzy fur. Practically speaking, there is no way to avoid anything the forest wants to do to you. If something in the forest wants you hurt or humiliated or nonexisted, it will likely happen.

But that does not mean you cannot at least feel safe. It is important part of living in the forest: convincing yourself that you are safe from its intrinsic dangers and thrashing. Here is a brief list of ways I make myself feel safe. Please be aware, these things might not actually make you safe in the forest, they certainly make me no safer, but they do make me feel safe (for a list of ways to actually feel safe in the forest, please refer to my guide: Here are 100 tips on how to stay safe in the forest).

How to feel safe in the forest: 

  • Place soft leaves on head
  • Sleep under something heavy (rock, log, etc.)
  • Ask a neighbor to watch over you as you sleep and hope that you do not ask the raccoon I asked because she just bit my face and scratched me while I was asleep and that was not nice or neighborly
  • Find a very nice cloud and stare at it and pretend everything else happening around you is not happening, even the clawing and biting of a vicious raccoon, why did you do this to me, raccoon? That was not nice
  • Make fun sounds
  • Try walking backwards so you will not need to face the horrors of the forest
  • Pretend the hawk you saw was actually very friendly
  • Ignore the dead frog you saw hanging on a stick, being eaten by so many ants
  • Did they eat him while he was alive? There is no way to know so try not to ever think about it
  • Do not think
  • About
  • The
  • Frog
  • Listen to the calming sounds the forest has to offer: the gentler breezes, the soothing crickets, the
  • sound of infinite ants eating a frog as he desperately tries to escape and
  • Ignore those sounds, those are bad sounds that will not help you feel safe
  • Avoid shadows since there might be snakes in them
  • Keep your eyes closed
  • Never open them
  • Ever

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

 

I made some new sounds?


I like to believe I know my sounds. Most of them are very “grrr” or “arrrrr” based. Sometimes my nose makes “choooo” sound and my padded paws pressing the ground make a sort of short, stout “shtump” sound. I like that one when it gets against crunchy autumn leaves and changes to a “chashtump” noise. That is a good sound.

As of late, however, I have made some interesting new sounds. I thought it would be best to examine them to better understand them.

Rawchacha: I made this sound when a fly got caught in my nose. When I spun my head around to shake it out my mouth flew open, sending the noise from my teeth tongue. I think it is supposed to a sound indicative of something unpleasant or intrusive.

Hrrraccckaaa: This noise was my instant response to a horrible itch I had inside of my throat. Rarely do my insides itch, and when they do, it is truly awful. Making this sound actually alleviated the itch, however, so it has a practical use.

Hurrrc: This is a noise I made when I suddenly awoke from a horrifying dream about ghost-fish chasing me underwater, nipping at my ears and screeching through their gills. I have not had this dream a second time yet, so I do not know if this noise is ghost-fish exclusive.

Kawwwwwfp: This noise was very sudden and very random. I did not anticipate it. I was sitting in a dumpster when it happened, staring at the inside wall of the dumpster. It was strange.

Pafurp: On second thought, I would prefer not to go into how this noise was made…

Hirk: This was the noise I made as I attempted to mock the deer across the river. He does it better than I do though.

Fishurpppppp: I made this sound when I dipped my head in the river. I cannot say for sure that it is not heavily influenced by the fish in the river.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

 

Spiky dumpster fruit.


Fruits are not a normal part of my daily diet. When I happen upon them, I certainly take the time to enjoy them, but those moments are so infrequent. Apple cores are the most common fruit I find. They are yummy enough, but the crunchy seeds get stuck in my teeth, making it an unpleasant experience overall. Orange peels are easy to find, too, but despite some entertaining chewability, there is not much enjoyment to be had with an orange peel. The juices that can be found at the bottom of dumpsters often taste like fruits, but there is usually so little of it to lick up and what little there is usually just gets my fur tangled into squishy clumps.

Fruits and I just do not mingle often. Too many restrictions. Too hard to find. Too sticky. So, when I stumbled upon the strange spiky fruit in the dumpster, I had few fruit experiences to help me understand this strange, new fruit. Perhaps that is why, at first, I had no idea it even was a fruit. I found the pointy fruit in a plastic bag among some greasy napkins and a very large bug. The bug did not seem interested in the fruit, being far too preoccupied with the napkins, so I pawed at the odd looking object, noting its pointiness. It had a very pointy tail, which alarmed the roof of my mouth as I began to nibble at it.

I figured that the pointy object I had found was some strange human artifact. Much like the plastic cords I found attached to a big shiny flat thing, this object was likely difficult to eat and, if eaten incorrectly, could even hurt me. With a frustrated swipe of the paw, I pushed the thing aside and continued my dumpster rummaging.

My pawswipe must have been strong enough to break it open, however. A sweet, lovely aroma came from where it had landed against the dumpster wall, and I began a second investigation of the strange spiky object. As any dumpster visitor would, I immediately licked the source of the smell. It was so sweet and pleasant. I chewed on the fruit, ignoring its spiky shell and tail. I devoured it.

It was a happy accident. This strange, potentially harmful object turned out to be my best fruit experience yet. It makes me wonder what else in the forest has an unpleasant outside despite a wonderful inside. Are snakes not the evil serpents they appear to be? Are they actually as harmless and caring as any other forest creature? Is the sun not just a boiling ball of hate and anger? Is it just disguised as so, masking a sweet, nourishing persona beneath its devastating shine? Maybe even the dee- never mind.

I suppose it is difficult to truly understand something until you get to know it or, at least, accidentally swipe it into the side of a dumpster.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

The human lake.


Sometimes I feel like I really know the forest. I know its trees. I know its sounds. I know its soft grass and the insanity of its squirrels. I know where the deer goes and I know his despicable face. In a comforting way, I know the forest.

But when that feeling settles in for too long, I get a little worried. Do I know the forest too well? Have I really exhausted all of its awe-inspiring majesty? Perhaps the comfort is too great, and I need new and interesting things to find and experience in the forest.

And then I found a human lake.

And I remember that the comfort in familiarity is usually much better than the chaos of new experiences.

The human lake was near a human cave. I was following the aroma of what I thought must have been a lovely dumpster when I found the human cave. It was big, much bigger than my cave. It had a wall of mutilated trees surrounding where its dumpster smells were coming from. With some clumsy pawing about, I managed to climb over the wall and closer to the smell.

The smell turned out to be coming from a very tiny dumpster. It smelled great but was largely empty. After a few hopeless licks of the dumpster, I turned my snout toward the next interesting smell: a strange body of water. My first thought was of how lucky this human was to have a perfectly lovely body of water right by their cave. I had to walk past many trees and rocks to get to the river I frequented, and the convenience of nearby water would be a luxury.

I decided to see what this human’s cave adjacent water was like. I made a mistake in my approach to the water, though. I really thought it was normal, safe water, so I hurled my entire body into the it at once. Once my eyes opened up, they began to burn. The taste was strange and stung my tongue. Everything about this water was bad and upsetting.

I desperately swam out. I thought I was safe, but then the yelling started. There were several humans standing by the water, shouting and throwing things at me. I tried to explain myself and why I was there. I tried to ask them why they would do what they were doing. The shouts kept coming. The things kept being hurled.

I quickly ran to the wall of mutilated trees and, instead of climbing up it, I accidentally broke it and ran through it. Its sharp splinters cut me, but I was far too scared of the shouting and things being hurled at me to pay attention to those scratches in the moment. I ran until I was safe in my cave. My familiar, warm cave. I napped.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I think I have been here before.


Even though I spend all of my time in the forest, I feel like I have not explored very much of it. Sometimes I will walk for a long time in one direction, hoping to feel the excitement that comes with treading unexplored territory, but I usually get too scared or intimidated by the immense size of the forest to go very far in any one direction. I end up back in my cave, enjoying its comfortable and familiar damp pointy walls.

In an attempt to challenge myself and explore more of the forest, I recently tried fighting the urge to turn back at the sight of the unfamiliar during one of my brief forest excursions. I walked away from my cave in a direction that was not toward the river or my favorite tree or the very interesting looking rock I like so much. I went in a direction that was unfamiliar, and I just walked.

And I kept walking.

Aimless but attentive, taking in the sights and the sounds of the forest as I went.

The more attention I gave to those sights and sounds, the more I began to feel like everything I was experiencing was very familiar. I walked until the sun was almost ready to retire into the trees past my sight, and I did not feel like I had seen anything new. It was all very lovely, for sure. I do adore the sights and sounds of the forest, no matter how frequently I experience them, but everything felt more familiar than I had anticipated. Usually that far into a walk, I would be ready to run in whatever direction I had come from, but where I went felt safe and known. Especially when I got to a cave. It was a nice cave. It was damp and rocky and comfortable. It had a delicious and soft bed of moss in one corner. Another corner had a fine collection of rabbit skeletons. There were some leaves spread about. It was wonderful. It was familiar.

Was it my cave? It felt like my cave. It smelled and tasted like my cave. I had walked away from my cave, though, so I was confused. What was I supposed to do? I did what came naturally to me: I slept in the cave. When I woke, it still felt like my cave. When I went outside of the cave, it felt like the outside of my cave.

Either I had just walked back to my cave by accident or I had stumbled upon an exact replica of everything I knew. I was not sure which was true, so I licked the pile of moss in the corner and napped a little longer. It felt right, and, really, either way, I felt like I was at home.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

A list of things that I at first thought were against me but were not.


Here is a list of things that I at first thought were against me but were not:

  • Wind (I think it is actually against everyone, not just me)
  • Flying leaves (further investigation led me to realize that this is just the wind and, again, the wind is really after everyone)
  • Flying debris (see: wind, flying leaves)
  • Birds (I often interpret their whistles and fast flying as a kind of mocking, but I think that is just how they are: fast flying whistlers)
  • The sun (I do not think it is personal)
  • Squirrels (up for debate, however)
  • Humans (they might be shouting at me because they are excited to see me, not because they hate me?)
  • The rabbit skeleton I accidentally swallowed (this was my fault, rabbit skeleton)
  • Ants (those bites could just be aggressive hugs, there is no way to tell)
  • The deer across the river (wait)
  • No, not the deer across the river (but I really should at least try…)
  • Okay, the deer across the river (but then again, those horrible hacking sounds he emits from his tiny mouthed face are so awful and filled with so much negativity and hatred)
  • Okay, no, not the deer across the river (but what has he really done to me?)
  • Fine, the deer across the river (no, wait, he knows what he did)
  • Never mind, scratch the deer across the river (wait, wait, just do it, what harm could come out of forgiving that vile beast and moving on with my life?)
  • The deer across the river (…)
  • Clouds (I assume they are moving that quickly because they have somewhere important to go and not because they want to spite me)
  • My cave, for its occasional lack of heat (it is not your fault, cave)
  • My claws (I am sure they did not mean to scratch me to intensely that one time I had an itch on my belly)
  • Okay, I just cannot do this, I cannot add the deer across the river to this list, it just is not fair, he does not deserve further consideration or forgiveness, he deserves to stay at the river his disgusting hooves and malformed antlers, I simply cannot add the deer across the river to this list
  • But I should…
  • Fine…
  • The deer across the river

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.