Tag Archives: bear things

Am I supposed to get better at being a bear?


I have no way to tell how good of a bear I am. I do not interact with other bears. I do not receive performance reviews from the forest on a regular basis. No other creature stops to tell me if I am doing being a bear particularly well or terribly (they do stop to screech at me, however, but I am not sure if that counts as a substantial review of my bear performance).

Since I have no way to determine if I am good at being a bear, I really have no way to determine if I should have progressed in my bearness. I have never gotten any kind of clue or indication that I should be getting better at being a bear over some period of time. Should I be a better bear each day? Each year? Is my progress meant to be incremental or something that should be obvious and very easily noticeable?

Or, maybe, I am not supposed to become a better bear. There is a chance that my bearness is not meant to grow. Maybe I am a bear, and I am supposed to be just the bear I am. Not a better one. Not a worse one. Just one, single bear that I already am until I am not a bear anymore.

I do not like that, though.

I feel like there are things about being a bear that I have improved upon. Take, for example, my ability to walk on my hind-legs. For a very long time, I was quite terrible at walking on my hind-legs. I could hurl my upper body toward the sky for only a brief moment before I came tumbling down. Now, I can balance on my hind-legs long enough to reach a branch I need or to get a better look at a bird’s nest. It took time and practice, but eventually I got pretty good at doing it.

I suppose my hind-leg-walking-ability forces me to think about what bearness really is to begin with. Is that something that a bear does? Is it something a bear needs to be good at? Does it really even matter? I like doing it, so I suppose it matters to me, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily matters to being a bear, but it does matter to me, so it does matter to my meness, and I am a bear. The logic gets circular and confusing quickly, but either way, I like walking on my hind-legs, and getting better at it makes me feel like a better me.

I suppose that is all that matters for now. For me. 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.

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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.

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.

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.

Here is a list of things I found (and maybe just thought I found?) while digging in the snow.

snow-bear-2

Here is a list of things I found (and maybe just thought I found?) while digging in the snow the past few days:

  • Rocks (many rocks in many different shapes and many different sizes and I ate about three)
  • Very sad looking grass (I ate about three)
  • Frozen rabbit skeleton (tried to chew on but hurt mouth)
  • Leaves (sad looking (I ate about three)
  • More snow (so much (where does it all come from/go?)
  • Ice (licked for a very long time, regretfully)
  • Less snow (this was a strange turn of events)
  • A can
  • Another can
  • A third can
  • There have been far too many cans
  • What I thought was a fourth can but actually turned out to be another rock (again, many rocks)
  • Part of a plastic shovel that did not do a good job being a shovel maybe
  • Part of a rodent tail (not Rob (the squirrel)’s, thankfully)
  • An apple?
  • Nope, not an apple
  • I do not know what that was
  • It was definitely not an apple
  • Whatever it was upset my stomach
  • A good place to take a nap
  • A bad place to take a nap
  • More ice (licking occurred again)
  • Twigs that are frozen solid (reserved for chewing at a later date)
  • Very flat leaves
  • What looks like deer fur
  • Wait…
  • Where is he?
  • The deer across the river?
  • Where?
  • He has been here, has he not?
  • Maybe he did not survive the storm
  • There is more fur…
  • …but not enough to make me believe the deer across the river met his demise
  • He is somewhere nearby
  • I can almost smell him
  • I found the river
  • The river is mostly ice
  • I do not see any fish
  • I do not see the deer
  • Did the deer abscond with all the fish?
  • Why would he do this?
  • Because he knows I like fish, that is why
  • I will wait for him to return
  • I fell asleep?
  • He has not returned
  • Dumpster snow
  • An actual apple
  • So many apples
  • Why are there so many apples in this snowy dumpster
  • I will eat them
  • The deer
  • These are my apples
  • Please
  • Leave me alone
  • What a horrible sound
  • Why do you make this sound?
  • How?
  • Running
  • Forever running
  • I do not like the snow

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 think I might be lost.

a-path-2

I might be lost. I think so, anyway. I am not sure. I started to walk away from my cave earlier today, and my thoughts began to drift toward images of sticks and garbage bags filled with sauce covered napkins and that time a rabbit looked at me and I did not know what to do. Before I could even begin to process where my paws were dragging me, I was gone. I had no idea where I was or where I had been.

And now I am lost.

When I look around where I am, I can remember bits and pieces of it. Some of the leaves look familiar. Some of the air smells like air I have smelled before. There is even a very interesting looking stick that I am quite sure I have seen and assessed as very interesting looking in the past.

I do not know where I am, however. That I am sure of: I am not sure where I am. As I let my paws do the walking and my thoughts do the drifting again, I begin to think why I even need to know where I am right now. Sure, I have a cave I can go to and it is safe and a place I know and a place I like to be near, but other than that, what good is it for me to know where I am right now or any other time? Not much of being a bear hinges on that information. I can still eat (even as I walk aimlessly I can see the bushels of berries and mounts of dirt to consume). I can still find the river (it is large and is always easy to find, and maybe the new spot I find will not have the deer across the river near it (unless the deer across the river is always across the river (which I would not put past him))). I can still be a bear.

I can probably be a bear no matter where I am. The place where I am being a bear does not affect my bearness, or at least I do not have any previous experience to refute that idea. No matter where I am, I am a bear.

My feet are still wandering, and so are my thoughts. And nothing seems familliar anymore as they each go their own direction. So maybe being lost is not such a bad thing. I am generally afraid of being lost. I often get worried and anxious when I am unsure of where I am, but this time, my relaxation comes with ease. I do not mind, in this moment, not knowing where I am. I do not mind not knowing where my paws are dragging me.

Until I think about where I might be going. That actually does make me anxious. What if I get dragged to a new place where I cannot be a bear? Is that possible? What if my paws are working against me to take me to some place where being a bear is unfavored and I have to be a something else?

I do not know where I am going.

Until my paws take me right back to my cave. When I take control of them again, I am at my cave. My paws took me there. I still feel lost, so I curl into a ball in the blackness of my cave, and I nap. And I hope I do not feel lost when I wake up.

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.

Something yelled at me today.

yelling-2

There many very scary things that populate the forest and cause a steady stream of anxiety and nervousness all the time. Spiders? Sure. Lots of spiders? Absolutely. Snakes? Always? Lots of snakes? It is guaranteed. Ghosts? Likely.

The list is unfathomably long and frustrating, and it makes me wonder how I, or any creature for that matter, manages to go about the forest on a daily basis without curling into a ball and weeping until all of the terror is gone even though the terror can never be gone so the curling and weeping would last indefinitely. I suppose it is something we have to accept and adapt to, but that does not make it any more pleasant.

At least when it comes to spiders and snakes and ghosts I get some kind of warning. I see the snake before I run from it. I feel the spider in my fur before I jump around and try to shake it off. I think I might be able to smell ghosts (not fully tested yet) before they go about their hauntings and whatnot. One of the more terrifying things about the forest does not give you sufficient advanced notice, however. It jumps at you and surprises you and makes everything feel terrible. It pierces your ears and ruins your relationship with whatever is the source of it. It is terrible and horrifying and I do not like it.

Being yelled at.

Nobody likes being yelled at, but that does not stop many things from yelling at many other things. I have been yelled at by trees, wind, humans, raccoons, opossums, falling rocks, snapping twigs, a very determined bee, and several pointy leaves.

I hate it.

And I never get used to it. It makes me feel small and helpless, and I immediately begin considering how I can not be yelled at. I run. I always run from yelling. It is the best option I know about, and, no matter how long I think about it, I cannot come up with a better way to handle being yelled at.

I have, for a very long time, figured that being the yeller must be pleasant. So many things yell at me, and they must all have a reason for doing so. They have to get something out of it.

I tried to yell at something today.

I did not know what to yell at. I did not want to yell at another creature or a tree or the sky because I did not want them to not like me and think I was angry at them or force them to try to eat me. So I decided that yelling at nothing was the best place for me to practice my yelling.

I sat in my dark cave. I stared at the darkness. The nothingness of it all. Here was a place to yell. Here was a place to let out a yell that had to have been boiling within, long awaiting to retaliate for all of the forceful yelling I had endured.

I let it out.

I yelled.

And then the cave yelled back and I whimpered and I ran and I have no idea if it was actually the cave or something inside the cave but either way I am not going back to my cave until daylight or until I know that the yelling will be stopped forever, please do not yell at me anymore cave, please, or whatever yelled at me, please, I am so sorry for yelling.

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 the book of faces.