Tag Archives: bear stuff

How I handled a bee I saw after it saw me: a series of mistakes that led to a strange triumph.


As the air gets warmer and the forest gets greener, it is clear that spring is shaking the forest loose from the harsh, extensive grip that winter sometimes seems to have. It is, generally speaking, a welcome change in my daily forest interactions. The mud from the rain is nice. The air is warm but not wet yet. Trees seem to enjoy it. Flowers certainly do (and you can eat those, which is a bonus).

The forest seems slightly more pleasant in the spring than it does during other times of the year.

Until you see a bee.

I have seen a great many bees in my lifetime, and bees and I generally have an understanding: I will keep sniffing things and ignoring you and you will keep being a bee and ignoring me. It is reasonable to me, and most bees are quite polite about the policy. It is best, for all creatures involved, if we ignore one another.

Today, though, I admit, I failed. I failed to ignore a bee.

I saw the bee.

And then it saw me, its deep, midnight gaze piercing through my very bearness, tearing its way through everything I have ever thought I was. That moment lasted a small eternity, if that is possible. In that moment, I obsessed over the worst possible thing that could happen as a result of this encounter: stinging things. If you have never been stung by a bee, consider your life a lucky, fulfilled one because being stung by a bee might be the worst thing that can happen to anyone who encounters a bee. It is such a devastating, awful event that when a bee stings you, it rids itself from the forest entirely, likely because of the guilt it feels for bringing such terror to another creature’s life.

I did not want to get stung. And I did not want this bee not be a bee anymore (even if it was terrorizing every bit of my sensibilities). I did what any normal creature would do… I yelled at the bee. I was hoping this would scare the bee, but it only yelled back, its harsh buzzing sounds echoing through my fuzzy ears, a shrill reminder of the pain to come after the inevitable stinging.

So… I did what any normal creature would do after yelling at something with no success… I ran at it… In the moment, it felt like the right thing to do. I knew I was much larger than a bee, so I figured it would be terrified of my largeness multiplied by my speed.

It was not.

It hovered above me, as if to mock my grounded paws. It had the high ground (or, air, I suppose) and was surely about to strike. I, again, did what I thought any normal forest creature would do… I closed my eyes and gasped, my mouth sitting wide open just long enough for the bee to fly right into it…

I panicked. I ran. I shook my face violently. And then I spit. The bee hit the ground, covered in my saliva. I felt terrible. What had I done to this poor bee, its only crime being its sight of me?

Its tiny wings fluttered, shook my spit from it, and it unceremoniously took flight. Before I could ask for its forgiveness, it was gone, back in the depths of forest it came from, away from me.

I was shaken by the event. I felt a strange mix of guilt and triumph. I fought a bee, which usually ends with at least one causality, and we both lived to tell the tale. And I think I even won.

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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I think there might be too many leaves.

bear leaves (2)

Calculating the ever-growing number of leaves that seem to fall from trees is an impossible task. Just when you think they have all fallen and that there could not be any more lingering up in the branches, more come.

I tried to consolidate the number of leaves in the direct vicinity of my cave one afternoon in hopes that it would make the opening of my cave more appealing to forest creatures who pass by. Rob (the squirrel) calls this “curb appeal.” He also suggest I trim some of the low branches of nearby trees, but I decided this would be cruel since the trees did nothing wrong and did not deserve such a punishment. Trees are pure entities who only have good will toward everything else in the forest (even the awful act of shedding leaves is actually beyond their control). If anyone or anything was to blame for the number of leaves on the ground, it was the wind…

I knew the wind was to blame after my initial leaf consolidation.

I had seven tidy piles collected that resulted a nice grassy clearing to lay in. The sun beamed through the bare branches to heat my newly cleared spot. It was refreshing to have the warmth beneath by belly meat. Before I could drift off to sleep, a rush of crunchy orange and red things pelted me in the face.

I sprung from the clearing to see that the piles I had collected were launching a full assault against me and their driving force was, beyond any doubt, the wind.

I felt betrayed. The wind was often the source of delicious smells. Why would it turn on me with such malice?

I wondered if I was hasty in blaming the wind. Maybe there were really just too many leaves.

There was only one way to find out. I would turn the leaves into something constructive. With the help of Rob (the squirrel) I skewered leaves on fallen twigs and used bits of twine from the dumpster to cinch them together. Eventually I had enough to begin forming the twigs into shapes. The shapes eventually formed images. From the leaf skewers I formed the shapes of many things in the forest: rabbits, squirrels, rocks, trees (ironically enough), me, and even a really big leaf.

From the chaos I created something wonderful. Rob (the squirrel) even lauded my work (even though he said that if the squirrel I made was him, it was a bit fatter than he’d like it to be).

With an overwhelming sense of pride in my work, I decided I had deserved a nap. I went into my cave and fell asleep the moment my head hit the dirt floor.

Hours later, I awoke to find my work ransacked by raccoons. They had destroyed all the shapes I had made (perhaps I should have thrown just one raccoon into the mix).

I wanted to be angry about what had occurred, but I wasn’t. Instead, I was struck with an epiphany.

Too many leaves was not the problem.

Vandal art critic raccoons were.

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.

I wanted something yet I was not sure exactly what.

bear wants (2)

The feeling was weird but familiar. I wanted something particular, but I could not quite put my paw onto what that particular thing actually was. It was intriguing to consider, at first. Going through the desires I might normally have and evaluating if they met my current needs. Then it became annoying. The vague feeling would not leave and could not be satiated.

I decided to just go about my daily routine of various bear related activities and thoughts. I started the day off with a nap (as I usually do). Though I woke up feeling refreshed, I still have an itch to scratch, and the indescribable desire was still keeping my mind wandering.

I then went to the river to drink and avoid eye contact with the deer who also drinks there. Luckily, the deer was not there that day, so I could drink in peace. I was, again, refreshed yet still had a wanting feeling for something I did not have.

Leaves. I love to chew on wads of leaves that I gather around my cave. I did just that. I collected several leaves and placed them into my mouth and chewed and chewed and chewed and it was lovely and delicious.

But it was not what I wanted.

I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my inability to fulfill my phantom desire, and I went through a gauntlet of trials involving a great number of activities and such that I normally enjoyed doing. I napped in a dumpster. I stared at the weird raccoon who sleeps in the pizza boxes at the dumpster. I listened to Rob (the squirrel) and questioned his strange tales/advice as I normally do (this time he asked me if I had ever daringly run under the tires of a speeding car and I asked him exactly what a car was and he screeched and hurled an acorn at my nose, as he tends to do). I even licked my favorite clump of moss that rests in one of the many dark nooks of my cave. I also took two more naps. All of these things were lovely, but I still had the weird, familiar but intangible feeling of wanting something I had not recently had/done yet wanted to have/do without knowing what had to be had/done.

The end of the day had come, and the irritating, irrational feeling was still lingering. It made me exhausted. I slumped down to the nest of moss and leaves and rabbit skeletons that made up my cave floor and slept.

The next day, the feeling was gone. Perhaps I had slept it off. Perhaps I had only imagined it. Perhaps I just wanted to get through another day, and doing so was enough to satisfy the urge. I do not know, but it was good to feel like I overcame it.

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 read a list by Bear that details how to approach opossums over at The Higgs Weldon.

The sky is so violent but colorful.

FIREWORKS

Just the other day, the night sky was screaming in color over its own black emptiness. It was extremely alarming at first. I was sitting in my cave, rolling the rib of a rabbit skeleton on the ground as I waited for sleep, when, very abruptly, a loud crashing sound echoed through the night sky and bounced off the walls of my empty cave.

I ran outside to check what could cause such a disturbance. My first guess was thunder, a sound with which I am familiar but still keeps me awake when it is being particularly cranky. But this sound was a little different from thunder. It was more continuous. More abrupt. More colorful.

When I got outside, the popping and crashing sounds came again. More this time, too. I looked up. The sky was filled with amazing colors that are not very common in the forest. The only things that come close to these colors in the forest are reptiles in various stages of anxiety, grief, or happiness. The sounds and the colors kept coming. Straight lines of white and gold zipped into the air. Each would then burst into a cloud of smoke and sharp looking color. It was hypnotizing. It was also terrifying. Unnatural yet oddly appropriate.

This was not the first time I have seen these strange lights and sounds, though. It happens on occasion, but it always takes me by surprise. I do not know where they come from or why they are ever here. I do not know why they are still slightly terrifying. I do not know why I like them so much.

The first time I remember hearing and seeing them is a distant memory at this point. I remember that my cave was still new to me. I had just recently found it (it came with several piles of lovely moss and a mouse who eventually died one winter later). I was trying my best to be comfortable in my new habitat when the violent sounds ripped through the sky. I was so terrified that I decided to put my paws over my ears and wait for the sounds to go away. After a long while, however, I realized they were going to keep going. I decided to investigate. The colors were so foreign to me then (just as they are now, frankly). I stared all night. They eventually died down, but I stayed outside of my cave until the sun rose. For a brief moment, I was hoping that the sun, too, would shout some violent colors in the sky. It did not. It made its usual warm, glowing color and sounds.

I still have no idea what causes these strange lights and sounds. I wish I did. I wish I understood their purpose and place in the forest. Maybe one day I will go following them. I will follow the sounds and the sights. I will try to locate exactly from where they are coming. I will make a discovery and expand my understanding of something strange to me.

Or maybe I will just let them continue being a mystery. A mystery which I will take pleasure in knowing that I will never really know anything about it.

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?