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.

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.

Naps do not always make me feel as good as I want them to make me feel.

napping (2)

I sleep often.

I enjoy how sleeping makes me feel both during and after the sleeping, so whenever I need those feelings, I try to sleep. Napping is a big part of my sleeping, so, generally speaking, napping makes me feel good (or is supposed to make me feel good).

Not every nap does what it is supposed to do, however.

Recently, my naps have ceased to give me the feelings of comfort and weightlessness that used to accompany them, the naps that is. Now when I nap, I feel strange and even more tired than when I decided to nap. Things feel fuzzy and hostile when I wake, as if the forest decidedly kept moving without me, the trees taking a vote on the matter and coming to the conclusion that most trees prefer to move the forest along without me, a bear, over waiting for me to nap.

I know that is not the case. I think (hope) trees like me, and I assume they are probably far too busy with tree matters (sticks, leaves, things blooming or falling depending on the weather) to even think about my naps, especially not maliciously so.

Naps do that now, however. I no longer feel refreshed and ready to continue the day after a brief nap. I want to feel that way, but it just does not seem to happen like that now.

I have thought about what has caused the downfall of my personal naps for awhile now. I have no conclusive proof of any kind of cause, but I do think it might have something to do with distractions. I feel more distracted now than I used to, I think, which makes it difficult to let go of my thoughts and feelings (a process that is necessary to create and maintain a lovely sleeping/napping condition).

I keep thinking when I should be napping. This is a problem.

I find it much more difficult now to let go of these thoughts and feelings. The thoughts are many and varied. It is not as though I have one, single line of thinking when it is time to rest, like something I know will help me sleep instead of hold my sleep back. I think about the forest and the creatures of the forest. I think about bearness and my bearness or my lack of bearness or how I even know what bearness is or if bearness is even a thing. I think about naps and how thinking keeps them from being enjoyable (that line of thinking is particularly frustrating). I think about today, yesterday, and tomorrow, but never as though they are connected in any manner, which, now that I am thinking about that thought, I think they might be.

All of these things sprint around my mind when my mind should be shutting down and preparing to nap.

I want my naps back. I never knew I would miss them so much.

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.

A lizard slept in my mouth again.

Lizard mouth (2)

It is not uncommon for other creatures to sleep near me while I am sleeping. I think I might produce a considerable amount of heat compared to most things in the forest, so getting comfortable next to me is really more of a survival tactic than anything else.

I usually do not mind this sort of thing. Creatures come and go in my cave, and though they usually try to disguise themselves as to not alert me, I know when they are there. And, honestly, it is fine. In fact, I like being a big warm ball of heat for creatures who might need it, a more approachable sun, I think. That is a nice thought.

Some animals overdo it, however. A tiny mouse once slept in my ear for several days. I only eventually noticed because I had to shake my fur dry after a light rain. When I raddled my head back and forth, a small mouse was catapulted from my ear. He looked upset, and I am sure I looked confused.

The mouse was not the worst offender, however. That honor would go to the lizard who slept in my mouth… The first one anyway.

Surely, my mouth is quite warm. I understand this. However, I really do not think it would be considered an optimal place for anything to sleep in. This is mostly due to the teeth. I have accidentally bitten my tongue and the inside of my cheek many times, so there is not much stopping me from accidentally chomping down on anything else that might be in there.

This daredevil reptile must not have considered that, though. I suppose I must open my mouth during my sleep (perhaps for deep breathing?), so the first lizard must have found just the right moment to slip into mouth without me noticing.

When I woke up, I tasted a mixture of dirt and squirming (if squirming can even have a taste). I spat out whatever was inside my mouth, and there fell a lizard. I did not get time to ask who the lizard was or why the lizard was there since the creature’s tiny legs scrambled to get out of my cave before I could.

I thought it was a one time occurrence. Maybe the lizard was just so desperate for shelter that night that even the mouth of a bear was preferable to the elements outside of that bear.

It happened again, though.

Just recently, another lizard (I have no idea if it was the same one or not) crawled into my mouth while I was sleeping and rested there the entire night.

Wake.

Taste.

Dirt/squirming.

Spit.

Confused.

I was worried this would start a trend, but it was really out of my control. I cannot control what happens to my face while I am asleep, so I just had to accept that there might be some lizards in my mouth every once in awhile.

I hope they needed to sleep there. I do not think it would bother me so much if I knew that the lizards absolutely needed to sleep in my mouth for survival or something.

I hope they were not just playing a trick on me or intentionally making me feel uncomfortable.

Lizards are a strange mystery.

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

 

Hiding day.

hiding  (2)

Yesterday was a hiding day.

I do not know from what I hid, but I hid from it for quite a long time. I frequently find myself using a nice hiding day to keep away from whatever emotions, deer, bad weather, or rowdy squirrels could potentially give me trouble in a given day. It is nice to just hide away sometimes.

This particular hiding day, however, I wanted to know something: what happened when I hid? Did my worries and troubles really go away? Did the forest worry for my presence, perhaps even going so far as to send search parties out for me? Did anyone actually know where I hid?

There were so many mysteries on hiding days. Another mystery I had to figure out was how I would collect data on a hiding day. How could I hide and understand how the forest functioned while I was hiding? I would have to trust a friend.

I considered trusting Rob (the squirrel), but I knew he would do what all squirrels do (lie). Instead, I decided to ask a very friendly blue bird who nested in a small bush outside of my cave. The bird agreed to fly around the forest during my hiding day, seeing if anything out of the ordinary would happen, particularly things that seemed dependent on the presence of a bear (me).

Then I hid.

I hid inside the very bush where my new bird friend usually nested. It was a good hide. I spent practically all day sitting and hiding and enjoying some peaceful napping and staring.

Then the tiny blue bird came back and reported what he had found.

Nothing.

He told me that the forest had remained the same throughout the day. Nothing of notable importance had shifted in any way he could discern.

Everything was fine.

Without me.

Everything kept moving as it always had and likely always will.

It felt strange.

I thanked the bird for its time and observations and went to my cave. I napped some more. It was difficult to sleep with the knowledge of how unimportant I was to daily forest activities.

I had a dream where the bird, though observant and thorough, simply missed all the tiny aspects I impacted on a daily basis. He missed how the floor of my cave grew cold without me. He missed how Rob (the squirrel) was likely even more aimless and crazy than usual without my presence to balance him. He missed how the deer across the river probably did not even go to the river when I was not there. He missed that his day had even completely changed because of a simple request from me. He missed how the sun came up a few hours later and left a few hours earlier and how the moon did not shine as brightly as it usually did and how the sky fell a few feet downward and…

But that was just a dream. And a nice thought. But maybe he really did just miss a couple things.

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.