Self-expression can be difficult. It is always risky to share something with anyone for a variety of reasons. Some things offer no feedback in response (rocks, trees, dirt) while others simply seem unwilling to listen (anxious squirrels, the raccoon I accidentally sat on, essentially all ants). Then there are the creatures who make me feel embarrassed to share. Birds, for example, do so many things so well and with such ease, making it challenging to share things in front of or around them. They fly with determination. They sit atop trees with grace. They never seem to fall. They, most importantly, sing. They sing so beautifully.
I, too, like to sing. I like to sing maybe as often as birds do, but I do not feel the confidence they must feel to sing so freely and so openly. When I sing, I am usually alone, sometimes among trees and rocks (again, they say nothing back so it is easier, though still difficult, to sing in front of them). I let out tiny growls and tiny howls and such and, I must admit, try to mimic what I have heard from birds. They do sing so well, and I do desire to sound like them. I know I do not. I know that my bear songs are probably not nearly as sweet and calming as most bird sounds seem, but that does not stop me.
Once, a bird caught me singing. I thought my only audience was a few rocks sitting outside of my cave, but after belting out a few growls, I looked up to see a very red bird staring at me. I was unable to tell what the bird thought of my song. I stared back, waiting for a review or, even better, advice. It never came. We stared at each other for awhile longer and then I let go and channeled my bird confidence and sang some more. The very red bird kept staring and when I stopped, it looked elsewhere and then finally flew off.
It felt nice to have a real audience, as stoic as it seemed. It made me feel like maybe I could do what birds do with the same kind of confidence. Maybe I do not sing as well as any bird, but I am sure I could at least feel as good about my singing as every bird must.
For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@