Category Archives: Bear thoughts

How many suns and moons do we get?


The sun and the moon have a reliable rotation about them. They are seen at a particular time and then they leave at a particular time. Sometimes they are covered by clouds, and every once in awhile the moon does not show up, likely to enjoy a much deserved break, but for the most part, these sky giants are very reliable. The presence of each one is comforting and makes living in the forest easier and warmer.

But sometimes, I wonder if I am assuming too much by thinking I see the same sun every single day. It looks like the same sun, usually. Sometimes it’s slighter more orange than usual or slightly more yellow than usual, but it looks roughly the same. But maybe these little distinctions indicate a new sun. This process goes even further for the moon, who seems to change its shape on a near daily basis. Maybe there are multiple of both of these things. Maybe every time the sun is done with the forest for the day, it goes off to another place, either resting or providing more warmth for a new forest somewhere else, and so another, equally warm sun replaces by the morning.

But if that is so, where do all those suns and moons go? I hope they are okay.

Also, if the sun and the moon can have this happen to them, how could I know whether or not something similar happens to all things in the forest? Maybe every night, as I lay my fuzzy head upon the bed of moss I have collected in my cave, everything I know and adore about the forest switches out, is replaced, by something that looks similar to it. The rock outside of my cave? What if that is not the same rock that I know so well? What if, every day, that rock changes, and I am getting to know a new rock every morning? Perhaps this even applies to other creatures. For every squirrel I see, are there an infinite number of squirrels it has replaced? And are there infinite more squirrels to come and replace it? That is far too many squirrels.

I hope I am not replaced each day. I do not feel replaced. I feel like the same bear I was yesterday, but if the sun can be replaced and the moon can be replaced then certainly I can be replaced, oh no, I hope that is not true?

Then again, this is all hypothetical. I do not know if anything gets replaced. I hope I see the same sun every morning. It feels like the same sun. I feel like the same bear.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

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When does the forest end?


The forest has been around for as long, and maybe even longer, as I can remember. I have always existed in the forest. To my knowledge, there is no other place. Everything I know is in the forest.

I do not know how long the forest has been around, so I wonder if it has always been here. Was there something before the forest? Or maybe the forest has always been here, just in different iterations. I could imagine a great deal of different scenarios about where and how long the forest has been. But, regardless of its past, what the forest was before I was in it would not matter. I would admire, respect, and depend on it in the same manner.

Where it is going, however, is a different story.

I will likely continue to live in the forest for as long as I am a bear, so it is certainly in my best interest to know and understand where the forest is going. What does the forest plan to do in the future? Will it continue being the forest? Will it stop being the forest? Will it invest in a new accessory (like a hat or something)? Will it always be okay with having me, a bear? How will the forest stop being the forest? Is fire involved?

The forest never responds to the questions no matter how loudly I growl them at trees. Should the forest decide to stop being the forest one day, I am not sure what I will do. I depend on the forest in just about every corner of my existence. Maybe there are more, though. I have never really entertained the idea extensively, but what if there is more than just the one forest? Maybe I do not live in the forest, but rather forest. If my forest ceases, perhaps I could go to one of these other possible forests. That poses new dangers and questions, though. Where is it? Is it nice? Does it have snakes? Does it have something worst than snakes (maybe double-snakes, whatever that could be)? What if it stops being a forest, too?

For now, I just have my forest and however long it will continue to be a forest. I suppose dwelling on the absence of something that has always been here is useless since, even if it does go away, what would I even be able to do?

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

Things usually do not match what is in my mind.


I cannot see everything in the forest all the time. I have tried, but I am pretty much limited to just my field of vision, which is actually quite narrow when compared to the scope of the forest. Since I am limited in such a way, I usually rely on my thinking to conjure up images of things in the forest that are not near me. So, for example, I think about grasshoppers despite not really seeing grasshoppers very often. In my mind, they are green and a little brown and have strange, crooked legs and huge, shiny eyes. Usually, my mind accurately presents grasshoppers and their proportions and looks. When I see a grasshopper in the forest, it matches the grasshopper in mind.

That is a nice feeling. When my thinking is in line with the forest, everything is easier. It does not always work like that, though. Sometimes, my mind is horribly inaccurate when it comes to things in the forest, especially the feelings and difficult-to-describe moments in the forest.

I know how I feel in my mind when I think about the unpleasantness of the mocking sounds birds make when I slip in mud. I know that it makes me feel horrible and that their shrieking cries of contempt for me pierces the very bottom of my consciousness. It sits with me for days, and I can focus on very little else for quite some time. When I reimagine such an incident in my mind, it is the greatest tragedy to ever happen in the forest. It is the worst thing to ever happen to me. It is unbearable and horrible and I would never wish for it to happen again to me or any other creature.

It does happen again, though. It happens frequently, actually. In the moment, though, during the actual experience, it is not so tragic. It is still unpleasant, for sure. But it is not the end of the forest or the end of me. It is tolerable. Sure, the shrieking mocking that comes from the birds who witness it is no fun to endure, but in the moment, it is not so bad. I can live within that moment just fine. The strange thing, however, is that when I process that moment outside of itself, in my mind, isolated from the moment physically, I again think it is far worse than it really was.

And the cycle continues.

It works the other way around. Often great things that I adore in the forest let me down when I finally reach them. Berries are remembered with such intense fondness, but in reality, they are prickly and sometimes very sour. I still eat and enjoy them, but they do not live up to the status I have crafted in my mind.

Very few things ever do. So many things are exaggerated outside of themselves, and it is so incredibly difficult to truly realize that fact outside of my mind and reflective thinking. The real moment of experience is so often surprising, for better and for worse.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

The angry ice.

I got caught in the cold yesterday. I had wandered away from my cave when it was not so cold, and then the cold crept up to me and grabbed me before I could get back to my warm domicile. At first, I thought it would be fine. I felt confident that my fuzzy fur would keep me shielded from the angry wind and the vicious rain. My paws felt stable as I plunged them into the mud, step by step, heading back to my cave for warmth.

Then the ice came.

The rain, which was already quite painful in the way it made little stabbing jolts through my fur, turned hard and sharp and pointy. The tiny shards pierced my eyes and nose and back fur. Each step toward my cave became an event for me, something that needed all of my attention and energy. I tried to focus on those steps and ignore the harsh pointy, cold shards of water who refused to hold back their hostile assault.

It was hard to see. The trees became blurry and eventually one. The cold was numbing. I thought, for a brief moment so that I could ignore all the ice and the beaten down feeling, about what the other creatures of the forest were doing to protect themselves from this. The birds were probably flying above it. The squirrels were probably hiding in holes in trees. Who knows how many insects and tiny fuzzy creatures were hiding under the mud. The trees just seemed to endure.

I kept trudging.

Then I saw the deer across the river. He was not across the river, though. He was just out in the forest. At first, I figured he had tracked me down, found my cave, and had probably created some horrible trap to ruin the finale of my challenging ice journey. But when I got a better look at him, he looked just as cold and lost and scared as any creature would be. He did not see me. His antlers fought through the wind and cold and wall of ice and anger.

Maybe it was a different deer, but it smelled like him. It looked like him. He eventually made a sudden turn, found a burst of energy, and galloped away from me. It was strange to see him so disarmed. He was just as susceptible to the harsh elements as I was. He could be scared and cold and alone.

When I got back to my cave, I checked it for traps. One of the rocks I had collected days before looked moved, but beyond that, my cave was just as I had left it. I curled up into a fuzzy ball and let my fur slowly dry. I had dreams about the river.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

It can be hard to learn from the forest.

Everything that happens presents an opportunity to learn something new. When I climbed a tree after a storm, I learned that some branches are not meant to be put through trials of wind and bear weight back-to-back. When squirrels made shrill, mocking sounds at me when the tree branch broke, I learned that not all creatures in the forest have an investment in your well being or the well being of tree branches. And when I realized I had landed on an anthill, I learned that ants are fast and angry and bite so much.

That was all useful information to have, and I did certainly enjoy the process of learning new things in the forest. It feels good to feel enlightened after a good learning. It feels good to be a new, better informed bear than the bear you were just moments ago. It feels good to expand your bearness through forest experiences. It really does.

Until it does not feel good.

Sometimes the forest teaches crucial lessons in challenging, angry ways, and when it does, it does not feel good to learn from the forest. It is awful actually.

A bird shoved its beak into my eye. That had never happened before. I suppose, in a way, I learned that such a scenario was possible, but I do not know if I really needed to learn that such a scenario was possible. Maybe the growth of my bearness was so small that I had a hard time perceiving it, but I did not feel like any more of a bear for knowing the possibility of a bird piercing my eye. My bearness did not feel expanded. The only thing I did feel was a horrible throbbing sensation in my eye, which made it difficult to see for a few days.

Plenty of treacherous things like that happen in the forest everyday. Branches break and land on you. Wind kicks up dirt that blinds you. Humans shout at you. Dumpster lids land on your paws. Fish bite back. In a misguided attempt to intimidate, you get too close to the deer across the river’s antlers and he reacts in a very disrespectful but, honestly, understandable manner. Parts of your insides make a snapping sound and a ripping sound and another sound you are unable to describe but can definitely feel because of the deer’s reaction.

All of those things have lessons to teach. They provide forest wisdom in some way or another. You get to know more about yourself or the place you live in or other creatures. I do not know if any of those lessons are worth experiencing those things, though. It can be hard to see their value. It can be hard to figure out why the forest would even bother letting you experience those things. It can be hard to learn from the forest.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

Bear instructions.

No bear ever sat me down and told me how to be a bear. How to push my paws into mud because it feels nice. How to avoid dipping my nose into the river while lapping up a refreshing drink. Why dipping my nose in water is bad. How to climb trees and not embarrass myself in front of birds (something I am still not great at). How to get into dumpsters. How to communicate with other dumpster dwellers. How to pick out a good stick. How to be a bear.

I had to figure out how to be a bear by myself for the most part. It involved a lot of guess work and mistakes and one time I almost drowned (the nose in the river thing was a hard lesson to learn). I have been considering creating and sharing a set of instructions on how to be a bear. I think it would be nice if other bears, even other creatures interested in being a bear, could have have some guidelines on how to be a bear.

I have no idea what exactly would go into the instructions. Surely the water and nose thing. But what else? What actions and experiences make being a bear? Do I catalog how I walk and eat and think and that time I saw twenty birds yelling at the empty vessel of a flattened raccoon? I am not sure what is most important about being a bear.

And I do not even know if I am the best creature to determine what is most important about being a bear. Surely there are other bears who have important ideas of bearness that differ from mine, and who am I to tell any creature that those views are any worse or better than mine are?

I suppose I cannot determine what the best practices for being a bear are. I can only determine what the best practices for being a me are. And I am a bear.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I am just upset because I lost a very good stick today.

missing-stick1

I try to keep my temperament even while I slide my paws around the forest floor. Generally, I am quite good at this. I am resilient, at least outwardly, to the sometimes incredibly harsh ways of the forest and its often times challenging inhabitants.

When squirrels make chuckling sounds I assume are directed at me, do I let out some angry roar as a response? No, of course not. Do I go back to my cave and steep myself into the sadness such chuckling causes me? Sure, but that is on my own time and in my own place. Nobody but me and the mood of my cave are affected by that kind behavior. When the deer across the river looks at me with his disgusting glances and makes ear piercing coughing sounds at me, do I let out an audible challenging response back? Well, sometimes, but that only affects the deer across the river and me. When birds wake me from a deep sleep, interrupting dreams of plastic bags filled with delicious sauces and dumpsters inside of clouds, do I shout at the birds? Of course not (except once and I am very sorry about that slip in character).

I try to stay composed. I really do. I try to stay composed, especially, around others. Today, though, it was not so easy. I was irritable. I was rash. I made growling sounds at a tree I accidentally bumped into, sounds I had never heard myself make. I bit down on log I found. Like really hard. With anger. I do not usually do that, but today was an exception.

Today was difficult.

I lost a stick this morning. This stick was no regular stick, though. It was a wonderful stick. I found it under a tree near my cave, sitting among some other forest debris. It would have gone unnoticed if I had not almost stepped on it. This stick was a perfect length. It had a lovely taste. It smelled like leaves. Good leaves. It fit into my mouth with such ease and without bits of its bark flaking off into the depths of my throat.

I carried it off. I had no idea what to do with it, so I just walked around with it. It felt like I was taking it on a parade throughout the forest, letting every creature who would look know how proud I was of my beautiful stick.

And then I set it down to take a drink of water from the river.

And it was gone. At first, obviously, I blamed the deer across the river, but he was nowhere in sight. I ran around, stomping my paws loudly as I cried out for my stick! Nothing. The stick never called back (as sticks never do). It was gone. Maybe some smart bird took it while I was drinking. Maybe the stick simply found a way to leave me. Maybe the forest floor took it and buried it someplace deep beneath the dirt.

I do not know.

But that is why I was upset today. That was why I growled and seemed angry. Hopefully, it did not disturb anybody too much. Hopefully, that stick is still out there somewhere.

I am a bear.

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@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.