Tag Archives: bear things

How to feel safe in the forest.


The forest is insanely, chaotically, erratically dangerous. There are so many things that can eat you. So many things that can burn you. So many things that can make horrible screeching sounds at you. So many things that might mock you just because you accidentally tripped on a rock and rolled into some mud and then decided to sleep there because why not? It was comfortable.

Since there are so many threats in daily forest life, it can be difficult to find comfort and solace in even the briefest of moments. Usually, I am on edge. I feel like I have to be prepared for anything the forest might hurl at my defenseless fuzzy fur. Practically speaking, there is no way to avoid anything the forest wants to do to you. If something in the forest wants you hurt or humiliated or nonexisted, it will likely happen.

But that does not mean you cannot at least feel safe. It is important part of living in the forest: convincing yourself that you are safe from its intrinsic dangers and thrashing. Here is a brief list of ways I make myself feel safe. Please be aware, these things might not actually make you safe in the forest, they certainly make me no safer, but they do make me feel safe (for a list of ways to actually feel safe in the forest, please refer to my guide: Here are 100 tips on how to stay safe in the forest).

How to feel safe in the forest: 

  • Place soft leaves on head
  • Sleep under something heavy (rock, log, etc.)
  • Ask a neighbor to watch over you as you sleep and hope that you do not ask the raccoon I asked because she just bit my face and scratched me while I was asleep and that was not nice or neighborly
  • Find a very nice cloud and stare at it and pretend everything else happening around you is not happening, even the clawing and biting of a vicious raccoon, why did you do this to me, raccoon? That was not nice
  • Make fun sounds
  • Try walking backwards so you will not need to face the horrors of the forest
  • Pretend the hawk you saw was actually very friendly
  • Ignore the dead frog you saw hanging on a stick, being eaten by so many ants
  • Did they eat him while he was alive? There is no way to know so try not to ever think about it
  • Do not think
  • About
  • The
  • Frog
  • Listen to the calming sounds the forest has to offer: the gentler breezes, the soothing crickets, the
  • sound of infinite ants eating a frog as he desperately tries to escape and
  • Ignore those sounds, those are bad sounds that will not help you feel safe
  • Avoid shadows since there might be snakes in them
  • Keep your eyes closed
  • Never open them
  • Ever

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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Spiky dumpster fruit.


Fruits are not a normal part of my daily diet. When I happen upon them, I certainly take the time to enjoy them, but those moments are so infrequent. Apple cores are the most common fruit I find. They are yummy enough, but the crunchy seeds get stuck in my teeth, making it an unpleasant experience overall. Orange peels are easy to find, too, but despite some entertaining chewability, there is not much enjoyment to be had with an orange peel. The juices that can be found at the bottom of dumpsters often taste like fruits, but there is usually so little of it to lick up and what little there is usually just gets my fur tangled into squishy clumps.

Fruits and I just do not mingle often. Too many restrictions. Too hard to find. Too sticky. So, when I stumbled upon the strange spiky fruit in the dumpster, I had few fruit experiences to help me understand this strange, new fruit. Perhaps that is why, at first, I had no idea it even was a fruit. I found the pointy fruit in a plastic bag among some greasy napkins and a very large bug. The bug did not seem interested in the fruit, being far too preoccupied with the napkins, so I pawed at the odd looking object, noting its pointiness. It had a very pointy tail, which alarmed the roof of my mouth as I began to nibble at it.

I figured that the pointy object I had found was some strange human artifact. Much like the plastic cords I found attached to a big shiny flat thing, this object was likely difficult to eat and, if eaten incorrectly, could even hurt me. With a frustrated swipe of the paw, I pushed the thing aside and continued my dumpster rummaging.

My pawswipe must have been strong enough to break it open, however. A sweet, lovely aroma came from where it had landed against the dumpster wall, and I began a second investigation of the strange spiky object. As any dumpster visitor would, I immediately licked the source of the smell. It was so sweet and pleasant. I chewed on the fruit, ignoring its spiky shell and tail. I devoured it.

It was a happy accident. This strange, potentially harmful object turned out to be my best fruit experience yet. It makes me wonder what else in the forest has an unpleasant outside despite a wonderful inside. Are snakes not the evil serpents they appear to be? Are they actually as harmless and caring as any other forest creature? Is the sun not just a boiling ball of hate and anger? Is it just disguised as so, masking a sweet, nourishing persona beneath its devastating shine? Maybe even the dee- never mind.

I suppose it is difficult to truly understand something until you get to know it or, at least, accidentally swipe it into the side of a dumpster.

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.

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.