Sometimes I feel like I really know the forest. I know its trees. I know its sounds. I know its soft grass and the insanity of its squirrels. I know where the deer goes and I know his despicable face. In a comforting way, I know the forest.
But when that feeling settles in for too long, I get a little worried. Do I know the forest too well? Have I really exhausted all of its awe-inspiring majesty? Perhaps the comfort is too great, and I need new and interesting things to find and experience in the forest.
And then I found a human lake.
And I remember that the comfort in familiarity is usually much better than the chaos of new experiences.
The human lake was near a human cave. I was following the aroma of what I thought must have been a lovely dumpster when I found the human cave. It was big, much bigger than my cave. It had a wall of mutilated trees surrounding where its dumpster smells were coming from. With some clumsy pawing about, I managed to climb over the wall and closer to the smell.
The smell turned out to be coming from a very tiny dumpster. It smelled great but was largely empty. After a few hopeless licks of the dumpster, I turned my snout toward the next interesting smell: a strange body of water. My first thought was of how lucky this human was to have a perfectly lovely body of water right by their cave. I had to walk past many trees and rocks to get to the river I frequented, and the convenience of nearby water would be a luxury.
I decided to see what this human’s cave adjacent water was like. I made a mistake in my approach to the water, though. I really thought it was normal, safe water, so I hurled my entire body into the it at once. Once my eyes opened up, they began to burn. The taste was strange and stung my tongue. Everything about this water was bad and upsetting.
I desperately swam out. I thought I was safe, but then the yelling started. There were several humans standing by the water, shouting and throwing things at me. I tried to explain myself and why I was there. I tried to ask them why they would do what they were doing. The shouts kept coming. The things kept being hurled.
I quickly ran to the wall of mutilated trees and, instead of climbing up it, I accidentally broke it and ran through it. Its sharp splinters cut me, but I was far too scared of the shouting and things being hurled at me to pay attention to those scratches in the moment. I ran until I was safe in my cave. My familiar, warm cave. I napped.
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