Category Archives: Bear thoughts

How much of my bearness is up to me?

Bearness is a continuous and changing idea for me. I know the bear I was many moons ago is not the bear I am now, and I know I will likely be a different bear some time from now. I do, however, feel like a great deal of my bearness, and essentially who and what I am as a bear, is within my control. My choices, my reactions, my thoughts. These are, usually, things I can control, and they all play a large role in my bearness.

I do not know how much of my bearness is outside of my control, though. There are things about the forest and, to some extent, about my being a bear that I have no say in. These things also develop my bearness, but I am not sure to what extent. I do not know how many things get a say in my bearness, and I do not know to what degree these unknown things have on my bearness.

Some, of course, I have an idea of what they are and, to some extent, how they affect me. Take the forest, for example. I know there a lots of things in the forest that can affect my bearness and how it changes. Just recently, a very nice stick fell out of a tree and landed before my paws. I spent a great deal of that day admiring the stick and chewing on it. These actions affected my bearness (in a positive way, I believe). I now have this stick experience to inform how I look at sticks and trees, and that perception goes into who I am as a bear, my bearness, even if it has a very small effect. I had no control over that stick finding its way to me, and though I did have control over how I reacted to it, the little thing I did not have control over led me down several interactions I did control. These things informed my bearness, too, and, to some degree, that it happened was outside of my control.

Then there are things that contribute to my bearness that I should be able to control but I sometimes I cannot. My bear thoughts, despite my efforts, can sometimes wander into places I did not intend for them to wander into. Even though I guide their general path, I know have a tendency to go where they please, and in doing so another thing outside of my control informs my bearness.

When I think of squirrels jumping onto my nose and biting my eyes, I do not want to have those thoughts. But they make their way to my bear thoughts, and that has some tiny effect on my bearness in some way. I try not to have these sorts of thoughts, but they happen with little to no say from me.

These little examples represent a much larger group of little uncontrollable things around the forest that inform my bearness, and, when they all add up, certainly they have an impact. So how much of my me, my bearness, is something I made and how much is not up to me?

Maybe it does not matter.

Maybe being a bear is an, at times, upsetting and, at other times, wonderful mix of so many things that will happen as long as I am a bear. My bearness is always going to change and grow and become some new version of itself, and maybe another part of that bearness is accepting that some parts of bearness are outside of my bearness’s control.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

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I am always at least a little scared.

It is true. I am always at least a little scared.

Many things frighten me for many reasons. There are far too many to list now and here, but here are a few key scary things that are particularly scary:

  • Shouting
  • Yelling
  • Screaming
  • Being shouted/screamed/yelled at
  • Misplaced rocks

There are many more, of course, and I tend to focus on these scary things often. They constantly plague my bear brain as I wander throughout the forest. Most of my interactions and decisions are even rooted in these scary things, despite the fact that these scary things are not interested in my every interaction and decision.

So why do I do this? Why do I let very reasonably scary things take such control over me and my life in the forest? I earn nothing in return. The scary things keep being scary even if I try my hardest to avoid them. To some extent, their scariness has an even extra scary element to it because of the control I allow these scary things to have. To add to the list of scary things:

  • Letting scary things control you

I am not certain as to how I can change this dynamic. I know it needs to be changed, though. Letting scary things get the best of me serves nothing, not even the scary things themselves. I wish it were as easy as simply ignoring the scary things, but I do not believe it is. Often, it is very difficult to convince my bear brain to not think of a scary thing. Even though I do control my bear brain thoughts and ideas, they do tend to stray and when they do, they tend to stray toward scary things.

How can you conquer something that can seem to have such control over you?

I suppose, however, scary things do not have direct and endless control over the interactions and decisions I make, despite those interactions and decisions being rooted in my avoidance in scary things. Perhaps this is where I need to make a change or at least try to make a change. The scary things are always there. They are always in the forest, and they are always in my bear brain. However, despite their scariness and their influence, scary things cannot make me do anything. It is a difficult path to navigate, but if I do not try, the scary things win something they do not even seem to want to win.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

My fur and its various states of softness.

I have expressed quite a lot about my fur throughout my duration of having fur. I have also wondered how others are affected by fur, including whether or not they are simply aware of it and its various states of softness. I have not, however, truly detailed the various states of softness of my fur and the many complex states of being my fur can exhibit and experience. I want to do so now, so…

When my fur has been covered in water:

When my fur has been covered in water, it takes on a unique style of softness. It becomes sleek and shiny. It becomes easy to manipulate and shape. Rain or river water makes my fur a wonderful customizable ballet of individual hairs binding together. This variant of softness does not last too long without water, but it is quite enjoyable while it is around.

My fur right after a nap:

This style of softness is bit rougher compared to other styles. After a good nap, my fur gets bundled in little tufts. These tufts are not as soft as other variants of fur softness, but they are still generally soft compared to things like pinecones and the teeth of the mice who sometimes live in these tufts.

My fur after a long slumber:

See: fur right after a nap (just more).

General softness:

Without external conditions or variables affecting my fur’s softness, my fur is… just soft. It is wavy and easy to comb through with a claw or paw. It shines brilliantly and requires minimal maintenance or regard. This is the ideal fur variant. It is simple and wonderful.

Softness post tree:

I have been known to rub my fur onto trees. There are many reasons to do this. Sometimes it is an itch. Sometimes I want to know the tree better through its bark. Sometimes I do it without really understanding or questioning why. Regardless of why it happens, I know that after rubbing my fur on a tree, the softness of my fur changes. The individual hairs that make up my fur seem to split apart, losing whatever cohesion or unity they once had. It was not until I rubbed my belly on a tree that I ever really realized this happens (I cannot see most of my back fur). However, it is interesting to see individual hairs that make up my fur stand on their own. It makes me appreciate the individual things that make up the bigger things of the forest (trees: forest; ants: anthill; droplets: river; seven mice and an angry raccoon: dumpster).

My fur is in a constant flux of various softnesses. I enjoy every type of softness there is. I like my fur, but I like the possibilities of my fur even more.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

Letting others get to know me.

I try to collect the stories and experiences of others in the forest, but I almost always fail. No matter how much I ask others in the forest (trees, rocks, raccoons, the sky, the moon, squirrels, not deer), my questioning is practically always met with nothing resembling explained experiences or stories of life in the forest. I might get the occasional hiss or screech, but those stories are hard to comprehend, difficult to put together.

My constant failure has led to me feeling like I cannot truly understand any other creature in the forest. Of course, they do not owe me their forest stories, but not knowing any other creature’s story makes me feel all the more isolated when I consider my own story. I then had a thought: why not share me own story? If other forest creatures are unable or unwilling to share their stories, maybe they would like to know mine instead?

It was something I had certainly tried in the past, but I had never really put a whole lot of energy into it. I have told my tales to trees and rocks and other things that would listen, but never with intent and cohesion. Past trials of sharing my stories were much more informal, almost as though I had been speaking to myself. I wanted to try something new, though.

I decided that I would share important life events with my fellow forest creatures. They would be structured and short, easily consumable by a listening party. Once I had my stories straight, I would go about the forest and share them with whoever would listen.

I decided these three stories about my life in the forest would be best to share given their brevity and importance to me:

  • The time a squirrel bit my ear and I thought it was a bug until I saw the squirrel and realized it was a squirrel
  • The time I tripped over a stick and landed on another stick that broke
  • The time I tried to eat my shadow

These stories were good and brief. I walked around the forest, reciting them as I had prepared them, hoping some forest creature would hear it and be interested. Hoping my story could heard. After a long time with absolutely no recognizable feedback other than one bird staring at me rudely, I realized there was a possibility that I was not the only one doing this. What if every bird song was a story about being a bird? What if every howl I heard at night was a scary story from some scary creature? What if every snapping twig was that twig’s story?

What if I just could not understand the stories every creature was telling?

And what if my stories were drowned out among all those other stories?

It was a strange breakdown of communication. I did not know how to understand my fellow forest creature, and they did not seem to know how to understand me. For now, I suppose I will keep listening. Maybe I will start to those stories together. And once I do, maybe I can figure out how to share my own.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

A startled rat shattered my reflection.

I find a lot of comfort in dumpsters. Whether it comes from the delicious sauces I find inside of them or the comfortable old chunks of rubber and cardboard I find outside of them, dumpsters provide a miraculous world of easy living and sauces. It is why I am always seeking new dumpsters or revisiting old ones. They are comfortable and nice, even when they are filled with other forest creatures seeking refuge and sauces.

I recently found something very strange and unfamiliar to me in a dumpster: my reflection. I have seen my me before in the river and shiny things I find around the forest, but never had I seen my me so clearly and pronounced as I had in this reflection. It was strange to see my me in such clear detail. I noticed the individual little hairs that made up my fur and the tiny splashes of dumpster sauces that kept bits of my fur knotted together. I could see the tiny holes that covered my nose and the glistening wetness that made it shine. My eyes were big and dark and looked infinite in their depth. My ears were fuzzy, which was nice to see.

I then noticed the expression on my bear face, made up by my bear nose and bear mouth and bear eyes and even my excellently fuzzy ears. My expression was much sadder looking than I felt. Did I always look like that? Did I walk around the forest carrying such an empty and downtrodden expression? Is this how other forest creatures see me all the time? Even trees? Do trees see me like this all the time?

Before I could explore my expression further, the me I was staring at shattered into countless pieces, making countless little mes scattered around the dumpster. It was a rat, creatures who frequently spend time in dumpsters. The rat must have been startled and then knocked my me reflection over. The rat knocked me out of my self obsessed reflection thinking and I went back to looking for more sauces in the dumpster, but for the rest of the day I could not stop thinking of my expression. How it did not represent how I felt. How it made me wonder if the bear I think I am matches up to the bear I appear to be. How I am not even sure if it matters if those things match. And how if it does matter, there does not seem to be much I can do about it.

I did, however, find a very interesting green sauce. It was spicy and left me very thirsty.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

Thinking of the -ness of others.

Bearness is a topic I have exhausted time and time again and for good reason: I still do not fully understand it. I do not know how or why understanding bearness could matter. I do not know what to do with an understanding of bearness. I do not even know if I am correctly understanding bearness, whether it be bearness in general or my own, specific, bearness. I could probably explore the topic of bearness forever and ever until I am not a bear anymore (though I hope that never happens because I like being a bear).

But for all the energy and time I put towards being a bear, I have done little thinking about the -ness of others. I have, of course, explored the surface level of others’ -ness. Trees, for example, have a treeness, I am sure, and I have spent time pondering what that might be like. I have wondered if trees count their branches and their leaves and their acorns as part of their treeness or if each part of a tree gets its own -ness (leafness, acornness, branchness, etc.). I have also definitely wondered what trees think of themselves and their place in the forest and whether or not they think about how I might think about those things.

However, when it comes to long-term, truly thoughtful reflection on treeness, I have never really wrestled with it. The same goes for pretty much any -ness: squirrelness, dirtness, dumpsterness, skyness, sunness. Everythingness. I have not invested the kind of dedication I have invested in my own -ness to any of these things.

Part of that is because none of these things will discuss their own -ness with me. Even when I ask, I am almost always met with silence and, in one very unfortunate incident, loud crashing sounds (I knocked over the dumpster (sorry)).

But that is no excuse, I suppose. Just because something will not discuss its -ness with me does not mean I should remain oblivious to that thing’s -ness. There must be better ways to understand the -ness others. And in doing so, perhaps I can even learn a little more about my own -ness. Maybe part of bearness is trying to understand everyone-else-ness. Or at least trying to do so.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

A new day for everyone in the forest no matter what forever.

The forest keeps going.

No matter how much anybody (me, trees, the sun, grass, angry hawks, scheming squirrels, forceful ants) tries to halt the forest, it keeps going.

It is quite daunting to consider. The forest will keep moving even when you need a break. Even if the last thing you want is for the forest to continue its neverending, unceasing, cyclical grind, the forest will not mind you. It will persist with or without you.

With the forest’s attitude toward pushing onward and upward indefinitely, it is very easy to feel left behind or even swept aside by the forest. I often look at where I am and where I have been and ask myself why I feel lost or disconnected from everything in the forest. What have I done wrong? What have I missed? Why does everything press on without me? Does the forest not like bears? Does it reject bearness? Do I have a smell about me the forest does not enjoy?

The good thing is that these feelings are overshadowed by the massive possibilities that come with the neverending forest. Yes, the forest moves on no matter what, but so can you, or any other creature in the forest. Even when you feel completely removed from the forest’s ongoing trajectory of chaos, it is surprisingly easy and simple to rejoin or, at least, go forward in your own manner (for me this means progressing my bearness, however I might interpret that). The forest’s seemingly apathetic view toward your own pursuits can be played to your benefit. Just as the forest does not seem to care enough to wait for you when you are down, it also does not seem to mind when you rejoin and get back on your path. It is actually quite easy join the forest’s ongoing goingness, regardless oh how long you have been unable to do your own goingness.

I hope, like the forest, I can keep going. I hope it leads to me understanding my bearness and the -ness of those around me. And then I hope I get to keep going.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.