Smells are curious things. They fill the forest (and my nose) with either tantalizing or intriguing aromas for what often seems like unknown reasons. In some cases, smells have a very clear-cut origin. If the wind brings me a whiff of burnt meat, I know that humans are cooking some sort of tubular snack on one of those fire spewing tiny dumpsters at the nearby park (those dumpsters are terrifying, by the way).
If I am walking through the forest (presumably looking for berries/acorns/old dirt to eat) and a particularly stinging stench coils up in my nostrils, I know that a skunk (or skunks) have found my presence offensive and have taken it upon themselves to let me and every other forest creature in the immediate area aware of their unhappiness. It makes me wonder what smells I make when I am upset.
But other smells are far more mysterious. At times, smell behavior can be very disorienting and, dare I say it, sinister (and yes, I realize that the aforementioned skunk smell may be considered quite diabolical, but it isn’t; that is simply one forest creature doing what it can do to better its own unique characteristics…or something to that affect…what I am trying to convey is that skunks are nice and my nose forgives them).
At this point, it has been well-documented that my relationship with the deer across the river is a strenuous one, but do not use the following example with any sort of bias: the deer stinks.
It knows it. I know it. It knows that I know it. And it knows that it bothers me.
The smell that permeates from the deer across the river is almost indescribable, but I will do my best to properly illustrate its horror:
If you were to imagine the smell of old fish that had been washed up on dry land for several weeks and for some reason a hawk decided to pluck if from the shore and use it to brush his beak after eating a rodent carcass and then drop that fish/rodent carcass hybrid into the opening of a rotten log that would later be rolled back into the same body of water from where the fish came and that fish was then eaten by a turtle that would later try to cross the flat black rock nearby only to be tragically hit and killed by shiny beasts who live on the flat black rock and left to bake on the black rock for several days before being collected by a human in a jumpsuit and taken to a place where humans in jumpsuits collect dead animals for some strange reason and then tossed into a vat filled with other dead animals (and cheese and rotten potatoes for some other strange reason), the stench of that culminate would be vaguely in the realm of how the deer across the river smells.
And the deer loves that it smells this way. Anytime I drink from the river the deer is sure to let me get a whiff. It stands ever so that the wind picks up the odor and delivers it directly to my nose (as much as I love the omnipresent wind, I often wonder if it conspires against me from time to time, corroborating with nefarious smells or perhaps even the deer). I do not know why the deer smells this way. I understand skunks and grilled meat snacks, but I do not understand how the deer can stand to be so smelly.
It makes me wonder if I also emit an offensive odor. If the deer has somehow gotten used to its own disgusting smell, perhaps I have gotten use to whatever smell I am putting out in the world.
If that were the case, however, someone would have told me by now. I have never been told I smell bad (the skunks would definitely tell me if they thought I was offensive to their what must be their delicate noses).
But the deer doesn’t seem to have any friends to tell him he smells.
There is a good reason for this. Perhaps he smells so horrendous because he has no friends. Or vice versa.
I am not going to tell him. He knows why. One day he will atone for the things he has done. And I will accept his strange smelling atonement. But until that day, the deer across the river will be alone in his smell.
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
You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear