I run when I need to run. It has its uses, running that is. For instance, just the other day I saw a tree with no leaves on its branches and its twiggy limbs were smacking up against another tree that did have leaves, ripping the leaves from the leaved tree. I thought I saw a tree murder in progress and, though I am ashamed to admit it, I felt the need to run as fast as I could. I was lost in the forest all night after running aimlessly for so long, but at least I got away from the tree murder.
I also sometimes run when I have bursts of energy for no apparent reason. It feels good to stretch out my legs and feel the wind brush through my fur. And even though I feel tired when I am done, I feel quite refreshed shortly after running.
I actually like to run.
But I do not like doing it in front other creatures…
I was recently running through the forest after thinking an interesting looking rock I found was actually a ghost when I suddenly heard a chuckling. I looked toward the sound to find several squirrels (oddly none of them Rob (the squirrel)) staring at me and laughing hysterically. I stopped mid-gallop and stared back. They were heckling me. At least five squirrels. All heckling me. One even did an impression of me by placing its back end high into the air and shuffling its front legs frantically. The other squirrels laughed at the impression. One laughed so hard it fell out of the tree.
I did not stay much longer to see the crowd further analyze my running. I trudged (at a very slow pace) back to my cave to lick my wounds.
The heckles haunted my dreams that night. I had a dream about one large squirrel poking me with a stick as I tried to run, but when I looked down, I had no legs. No paws. No way to run. Instead, I rolled through the forest as the squirrel kept poking and stabbing me.
I woke up growling and shuffling my feet… frantically.
Now I am consistently worried about how I look as I run through the forest. I even find myself not running from time to time, even when I really want to. What if the squirrels are watching? What if other creatures are watching? What if I really do look silly as I run?
I do not like running as much now. I want to run. I want to like to run. But the constant fear of not running how I am supposed to run keeps me from doing what I want to do.
Maybe one day I can see another bear run. Maybe the example could show me how it is really supposed to be done. Maybe I can learn to like running and maybe I can learn to run how a bear is supposed to run or maybe those squirrels will just leave me alone.
Or maybe I will just walk from now on.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org