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Did I find the raccoon or did the raccoon find me?

Sudden and unexpected forest encounters are… well… actually quite expected. As a forest dweller, I have become accustomed to random encounters in the forest and all the confusing and sometimes upsetting effects of them. Even though they happen often, I still get taken aback by these encounters. Even when I happen upon a sort of creature I have seen time and time again, I still find myself jumping and running and losing my composure.

The last time I saw such a common creature, I had a realization. I found a raccoon. I was going through a wonderful dumpster when I decided to check under it. Sometimes I find interesting sauces and bugs under dumpsters that sit on blocks on mutilated trees, so I was excited to look around.

My snout was met with a tiny vicious paw.

The culprit was a tiny raccoon who was scared and angry and hissing. I had found the little beast. Not on purpose. It surprised me and I ran until my paws hurt and the moon took place of the sun. It was a difficult evening.

But as I thought about the situation, I thought about the raccoon. I had found the tiny creature, but had the raccoon found me? It had to have found me. What was it like for the raccoon? Did the raccoon hear my heavy steps? Did my curious snout startle the raccoon? That would explain its violent reaction. I felt awful. That experience had to have been as traumatizing for the raccoon as it had been for me.

I went back to the dumpster to check on the raccoon. The creature was gone, and I was sad about that. I wanted to ask the raccoon about our shared experience. I wanted to know more about the raccoon. I do not blame the raccoon for running, but I wish I had the opportunity to see me through raccoon eyes. Maybe I can be more aware of myself in the future, and maybe that will lead to some raccoon coming to check on my when I run off into the forest, terrified.


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:

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 do not know where my thoughts go when I am done thinking them.

My bear brain is quite active. I have thoughts and ideas and memories and other unidentifiable things going on in there practically all the time. It is rare my bear brain feels switched off, and even when it does feel that way, I usually end up thinking about how it feels that way, which switches it right back on.

But all of these processes that go on in there are not going on all the time at the same time. That would be overwhelming, I am sure, so my bear brain tends to a task or thought or an anything at all one at a time. That makes everything more manageable, of course. I am, however, often bothered by the idea that these thoughts and such just go when I do not need them. It bothers me simply because I do not know where, exactly, they go.

Everything in the forest can be touched and moved and smelled, so it is usually quite easy to keep track of the comings and goings of these things (except squirrels for obvious reasons). Thoughts are not like that. They do not have a cave they head home to when they are done for the day. They do not wait around in a perceivable place, anticipating your next need for their use. I have no idea where they go. Some can get memorized, which I guess is as close to a cave for them to go home to as there gets, but even that is not tangible. Even those can just go. 

And when they do decide to go they are gone.

Sometimes these thoughts never come back. I frequently lament the loss of a thought, wishing it had stayed a little longer so I could commit it to memory, but most do not. It would be nice to know that they at least go off to a nice place. Somewhere warm and safe. But part of me believes that they go on to nothing. They simply stop being. I do not like that thought, and it is a thought that does not really go away like others do.

I try to hold onto the important thoughts. I try really hard to remember the sorts of thoughts that make forest living easier, but I am sure I have even lost some of those. And when they are gone, they leave nothing behind but a strange, fleeting empty feeling. Then again, maybe they can come back and I am simply unable to recognize them. Maybe thoughts can come to my bear brain, seemingly new to me, and recycle themselves. But who knows.

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:

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 moon bear to replace me while I sleep.

That the sun has such a lovely complement in the sky, a calm partner who takes care of the forest while the sun goes down to rest or plan or whatever else the sun might do when it falls, is something I have always admired. Sun goes down. Moon comes up. Moon goes down. Sun comes up. So on and so forth, in lovely sync. You can even sometimes see them both at the same time. It is one of the few predictable shows of the forest. The sun will go down. The moon will come up (though, once in awhile, it does not, but that is okay, everybody needs a break).

Sometimes I wonder if the sun or the moon even knows about their respective opposites, though. Does the sun know, or even care, that the moon picks up its work during the cool, gloomy nights of the forest? And the moon? Does it realize that we get most of our warmth and light from the sun?  Does it care?

I have a feeling that the two are completely unaware of one another, which makes me wonder about any possible complements I might have that I am unaware of. The idea of some moon bear out there in the forest, doing bear things that I do during the day just so the forest can have some kind of bearness going on even while I rest, is very intriguing to me. I would love to know that bearness similar to mine is being represented in the forest even when I am unable to represent it.

I stayed out late recently to try to find out. I walked about the forest as the surprisingly bright moonlight flooded the forest floor and guided me. It was nice to feel the cool night air, but it was unfortunate to not stumble upon any such moon bear. I found no bears at all. I found no moon-anything at all. The only moon there was was the moon itself. I entertained the idea of maybe all the trees I saw being moon trees because of their overwhelming darker, calmer colors, but then I remembered that was just because they were not bathed in sunlight.

I went back to my cave. I slept. I woke up wondering if I had just missed the moon bear. Maybe it was looking for me, the probably sun bear, at the same time I was looking for it. Maybe it was taking its rare break from its duties like the regular moon does ever so often. Maybe the moon bear exists and we are not meant to meet. Maybe it is possible to see us at the same time, at the right place, at the right angle, but we can never see one another. We just chase each other instead, never actually meeting.

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:

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 had no say in how many legs I would get when I was born.

too many legs (2)

As much as I enjoy being a bear, I did not actually choose to be a bear. I did not choose to be an anything. I do not even remember starting to be.

It seems unfair that I had (to the best of my knowledge) no input into what I would be for the entirety of my being. I did not even get to customize the thing (a bear) I would become. Nobody asked me how many legs I would like to have, whether or not I wanted wings, or if the number of teeth a bear has would be enough for me.

I do wonder what I would choose if I got a chance to determine these kinds of things.

Despite the initial thought, I do not think I would like to have more legs. Four seem to be plenty, and I can get lots of things done with the number of legs I currently have (walking, climbing, swimming, feeling mud, etc.).

I think I would like to have more toes, however. I like the toes I have, but imagine if I had more. More small digits to spread apart and let relax in the cool soil. I could also put more rocks in between my toes. I do not have to do that necessarily, but it might be nice.

Another nose? Is that too extreme? I love to smell things, but do I need to smell double the things with double the intensity? That has the potential to be nauseating, but it might be intriguing to smell the most intricate of smells or the deepest of smells I already like (moss and tree bark and such).

It would be nice to have more fur. Or interesting colored fur with lovely designs. I do love my dark, shiny coat, but having some stripes or strange colors in my tuft would be neat, though not practical in any manner.

Maybe it is best I did not get to pick and choose when it comes to my being, however. I ended up being a bear, which should be nice enough. There are lots of things that are not bears. There might even be things that do not get to be things(?).

I hope the kind of bear I was made to be is the best and most necessary kind of bear I could have been. Hopefully whoever (if anyone or anything (maybe it was me but I forgot? (maybe it was a strange council of bears?))) made those decisions made the best ones possible.

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:

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear

Perhaps there are infinity bears?


Counting is hard sometimes. I often find myself wondering why there are certain numbers of bear parts that make up my body. I know that I have four legs to help promote mobility and stability. I have two eyes to help me see (and count things).

But not everything about me seems to make sense. Some of my parts are simply uncountable. For instance, I often wonder how many strands of hair make up my fur. I have tried to count them many times but have failed miserably. Usually I lose track or fall asleep or run out of visible patches of fur (I once employed Rob (the squirrel) to help count all the fur on my back, but he wound up counting acorns instead; it was very confusing and unproductive).

My teeth are also difficult to inventory because I cannot see them. I have felt them with my tongue, but my tongue is an unreliable accountant.

I assume that the number of hair and teeth I maintain is an appropriate amount for bears and won’t fluctuate too much in the course of my existence. But if that number does change, do I become more or less bear? I hope not. I hope my bearness retains all the qualities that make me a bear despite any missing teeth or newly grown fur.

The perplexing nature of numerical values is also applicable to the forest itself. I know how many Rob (the squirrel)s there are. One. Just one. That much I know. But I have no idea how many trees there are. I’m sure I would eventually be able to count them all if I kept a thorough tally, or I if were to mark them so they would not be recounted, but other matters seem to take precedence over this goal: food, naps, rolling in dirt, more naps, etc.

Even if I could count every tree in the forest, what would it accomplish? I know that I would rest a little easier knowing that number, but would it shed any light on the number of other things around me? Probably not. What do trees know about the quantities of other things in the surrounding world? Very little, I would guess (no offense, trees).

Much like my teeth and fur, there are things in the forest that change so rapidly, they would be impossible to count. Take clouds for example. They shift and float across the sky without warning. They change color and disappear. How could anyone be able to keep up with that sort of behavior? Perhaps clouds simply do not want to be counted.

I am easy to count. I am one bear. One, single bear. I do not know how many other bears there are. I assume more than just me. Perhaps there are bears in other places beyond the forest. Or maybe even beyond the clouds.

Maybe, just maybe, there are more than just one of me. There could be infinite versions of me across infinite versions of the forest. If this is the case, counting my legs and fur and teeth would be acts of futility. How do you count to infinity?

I suppose counting things shouldn’t be so worrisome. Rob (the squirrel) says he never counts things and believes there is simply enough things around at any given time. I suppose, on some level, he has a point.

The hypothetically infinite numbers of me have yet to come crashing down on one another, so I guess things are as they should be.

Rob (the squirrel) ate three of my acorns.

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:


Hello, I am a bear. I often like to write haiku on my Twitter account. It is a good way for me to express some of my forest experiences in an interesting form. Many of my followers seem to enjoy my haiku (which I call Bearku). I decided to collect all of the Bearkus I have written in a single place. On top of that, I have added a few new ones. I have also created titles for them, which are indicated with leaning, dark text.

Cold Air

Breathing out cold air,
I see what comes out of me
and then it is gone.

Fighting Wind

The strong winds fight me,
hurling pinecones at my face.
I want to eat them.

Broken Tree

The tree is broken
I want that acorn to eat
I’ll smell my fur now


Wind blows, dries the eyes
Have to close them for comfort:
forget where I am


Paws dig into dirt
Cooling soothing feeling chills
It fights the harsh sun

A Duck I Ate

I think of the duck
I regret eating the duck,
and what will eat me?


I eat bugs sometimes
No wait, that is a small lie
I eat bugs all times

Good Eats

I found the garbage
that goes into my belly
to make me sleepy


Ants have strong numbers
but bears are often alone
Which one is nicer?


Wind blows through the grass
picking up dirt and debris
and then I eat it

Resources (Pt. 2)

Wind goes through your fur
It sweeps the debris off you
And now you are clean


Forest currency:
Yes, acorns can be traded
for various goods

Empty Yummy

I like to eat air
It tastes like so many things
But also nothing


Moldy and so dark
Minimal dead animals
Perfect for a bear

Open Mouth

Forest gets ready
to be silent for the night.
Think I ate a moth.

To Be a Bear

To smell like a bear,
one must first live like a bear
and eat lots of trash


Get in the river
Let the water carry me
I go where it goes

Where the Forest Goes

No matter how slow
you move throughout the forest,
the forest still goes


I have many claws
They are all pointy and sharp
What to do with them?

I Ate so Many Crickets

So many crickets
making noise in the forest
and in my belly


August goes away
September settles with us
I want leaves to fall

Fall (Pt. 2)

And now on the ground
I will eat so many leaves
These are such good times


Sticks fall from the trees.
I step on them and they break.
I’m so sorry, trees.

Birds are Different

Bird nest: sticks and straws
Bear nest: soft dirt in a cave
Both are so lovely

Birds are Different (Pt. 2)

Bird neck: feather spots
Bear neck: no feather but fur
Both are smooth to touch

Where do Fish Go?

I follow a fish
I trace it with squinted eyes
It only escapes


I hope you enjoyed my Bearku, and I hope they inspire you to create your own (as many of you already have). Thank you for reading. And if you have not already, please remember to read my choose-your-own-bear-adventure story. I am told it is quite fun, and I will have a new bear-adventure ready for you soon!

-A bear