The forest can be a very dangerous, confusing, wild place sometimes. Despite everything the forest gives and provides for me and other creatures, it can still be an absolutely difficult and terrifying place to spend the entirety of existence in. The screeching. The getting lost. The harsh winds. The bitter cold. The damp floor. The sharp sticks. The angry sun. The other creatures trying to eat me maybe but not actually. The dangers are numerous and severe, constantly present no matter where in the forest I go.
It is a part of forest life, and, for the most part, it is possible to adjust to it. Though forest living can be tense, it only takes time to learn how to avoid or process most troubles that it can hurl. And for the ones that are unavoidable? There are ways to cope. I prefer to rub my belly on the soft forest floor when I feel overwhelmed by the chaos of living in the forest. The leaves feel good against my fur, and the cool dirt soothes my belly as much as a good meal does. It is truly relaxing, and I highly recommend it for enduring the daily stresses of living in the forest.
Sometimes, though, the forest gets too difficult for simple belly rubs. Sometimes the screeching is particularly deafening. Sometimes the food is scarcer than usual. Sometimes the winds are sharper than usual and the sun is angrier than usual. Sometimes all of the difficulties of living in the forest attack at once, making it impossible to feel any kind of peace in a given day.
The forest can be unforgiving. The forest can be mean. Sometimes it feels like the forest takes all of its anger and chaos and aims just at me for a single moment, and I become paralyzed by everything bad it has to offer. Sometimes, I wake up in my cave, and I know the day will be one of those paralyzing chaos days. And I know no amount of forest floor belly rubbing will help me. It cannot be ignored, either. If I do not face the terrors of the forest, they will come creeping into my cave looking for me. Even if they do so just through my thinking, they somehow manage to find me every single time.
When it feels like the forest is completely focused on making my existence a struggle, I first remind myself that I am not the only one. It can be hard to remember that. I am a bear, so I mostly do and think and stick to bear things, and I can get lost in those bear things. I am not the only thing in the forest, though, and the forest is far crueler to many other creatures than it is to me. Tiny birds, for example. Imagine how those sharp winds that bother me so much must feel to them? They must go through the same feelings of dread and confusion when those horrible gusts begin howling throughout the forest, probably even more so than I do. If anything, I should be protecting tiny birds from the wind (though the last time I did I ended up accidentally eating a nest).
I also remember that the forest will keep doing what it is doing forever and ever, even when I am no longer a bear in the forest. The forest is indifferent toward me and how upset I am at it sometimes. No amount of belly rubs on the forest floor will change that, so I have to learn how to handle whatever the forest wants to attack me with. I do not have a choice in that matter. I either face the forest’s wrath or I sit in my cave away from everything until I am not a bear anymore (and I like being a bear, so I do not want to do that).
Sometimes the forest will win, however. The forest will make me feel terrible and I will sit in my cave and even consider staying there until I am not a bear (even though I really like being a bear), I am not sure what to do during times like those, but I will continue to at least try to not let the forest get the best of me when it is after me.
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@