Do not yell at trees.

tree bear

You should not yell at trees for many reasons. First, and most importantly, they do not like it. While they have never vocalized this, I am eighty-four percent certain it is not a pleasant experience for them. Would you like to be yelled at? Of course not, and you are not even a tree.

If you would, for just a moment imagine being a tree: You are in the middle of a great forest surrounded by your brothers and sisters. A network of wildlife uses your body as a home and/or food source. You produce offspring and help the forest grow denser. You give shade to those who are too large to inhabit you. Some animals use you to mark territory or get rid of waste. Humans often deface you with strange carvings or, in horrible situations, try to take you out of the forest in cylindrical slabs. You have no defense mechanisms, but you must be strong at all times.

Despite being quite impressive and majestic, you are under constant duress to be something to everything.

Now that you are an imaginary tree and can empathize with the plight of trees, picture someone yelling at you. Perhaps your leaves were blown off your branches (something you had no control over) and they landed somewhere someone did not want them to land. Maybe your sap got on someone’s fur. Maybe someone just does not enjoy the texture of bark. Now, how would you feel if this hypothetical someone yelled at you for any of these reasons? Would you need that sort of pressure on top of all the other things you have going on in your life? Of course you would not.

The act of yelling at trees is simply pointless. It does not accomplish anything. You might think that yelling at a tree could be cathartic, but it does not make you feel any better. I know from first-paw experience.

I once tripped and tumbled, head first, into the base of an oak tree. Once I got to my feet, I loudly growled at the tree and asked why it felt the need to strike me. After a moment of silence, I felt ashamed for blaming the tree for my misfortune. After all, I was the one who tripped and tumbled. The tree had always been there. The same place. A constant for the forest. I was the one running about, causing unpredictable chaos. I tripped because of me.

What could I have expected from the tree anyway? If the absurd assumption that the tree was at fault was even remotely true, what could the tree do? No tree has never apologized (not that an apology from a tree has ever earnestly been needed), and this tree was not about to be the first to do so. My whiny howling did not deserve any response beyond what it received: just silence (or just the soft rustling of leaves in the wind).

Rob (the squirrel) once told me he yelled at a tree. He claimed that a tree had tried to run him over while he was crossing a street. I had no idea how or why a tree could or would do that. I also was not completely sure what a street was, but I did know that no tree could ever intentionally, upon its own will, do something so malicious.

I asked Rob (the squirrel) if yelling at the tree had made him feel better. He admitted it had not. He also admitted that the thing that had tried to run him over was likely not a tree. He then seemed embarrassed, which led to him hurling an acorn at my nose and running away. Even Rob (the squirrel), who is characteristically aggressive, blameless, and unashamed by nature, could not place blame on a tree.

Trees are your friends. Even if one falls over and smashes something you love, it is not the tree’s fault. They did not ask to be horizontal. In fact, I am seventy-six percent sure they abhor being anything but vertical. Unless you enjoy pointless acts and looking quite silly, please, do not yell at trees. There are better ways to spend your time.

I am a bear.

To read more thoughts from this particular bear, interact with the blue or grey parts of this statement. It would be fun.

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