I did not know what to do. The two mice were hurling tiny, rage-filled fists at one another, tearing fur from skin, and biting. Their tiny shrieks of pain and anger echoed through the forest. I tried to make a fearsome growl at them to curb the violence, but it did not work. They kept going and going.
Finally, they stopped. I did not intervene here, either. I wanted each mouse to go its separate way, and I figured any intervention from me would be largely met with more violence in one way or another.
I could not tell if the mice were reconciling or just taking a break. The tension was agonizing.
And then a bird flew down and clenched its powerful talons around one of the mice. The two flew away. The remaining mouse then picked up a small kernel of corn and ran away.
All of that over a kernel of corn?
The violence. The shrieking. The terror.
Over some corn.
I had several questions:
Why not share the corn, mice?
Was losing one of you worth one tiny bit of corn?
Where did you even find corn in the forest?
Why fight so hard for something that is so insignificant?
I walked back to my cave with all of these thoughts swirling in my head. At first, I was quick to cast judgment upon both mice. After all, it was their violent tendencies that got one of them eaten by a bird. Why did they not put more consideration and care into that situation? Surely, two mice would be better at finding more corn than one, right? Is a fellow mouse not worth at least one kernel of corn?
I stuck to this line of thinking for awhile until I considered what I would do in that situation. What if another bear and I had stumbled upon the same rabbit skeleton? Would we share? Would we fight over it? Would we cooperate to find more? I like to believe I would be willing to help a fellow bear, but then again, I have never had to actually do any of this.
I have never had to compete with a bear. I rarely ever even see other bears, let alone violently fight with them over resources.
I have not been tested.
So why was I so quick to dismiss the struggle of the mice? I do not know how frequently mice have to fight one another for corn, but I do know that it has to be considerably more often than I have had to fight anyone for anything.
And mice have more to fight than just other mice, as I saw from the nightmarish claws of the bird who ate one of them. Nothing in the sky has ever tried to pick me up and eat me. I am fairly certain that there is nothing big enough to do something like that to me.
It is difficult to see the forest from eyes that are not bear eyes. I wish I could do so more easily. I wish it were easier to simply know the struggles of other creatures. I would like to know how the opossum I accidentally sat on the other day felt about that incident, though the high pitched shrieks were easy to interpret. I would like to know how others are impacted by my being a bear on a day-day-day basis. I would like to know the dangers wild rabbits face as they hop through logs and burrows. I would like know what fish feel. Even the ones I eat. Especially the ones I eat.
I cannot know these things, however. I am just the bear I am. I will try to understand these things and not be so critical of them from now on. I will also try to understand that being a bear might be easier than being a mouse who needs corn. Being a bear might even be easier than being an almost anything else so far as I have seen.
And I will try to find out where I can find corn in the forest. I would like some corn.
To read more thoughts from this particular bear, interact with the blue or grey parts of this sentence.Also, be on the look out for a new bear adventure.