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When does the forest end?


The forest has been around for as long, and maybe even longer, as I can remember. I have always existed in the forest. To my knowledge, there is no other place. Everything I know is in the forest.

I do not know how long the forest has been around, so I wonder if it has always been here. Was there something before the forest? Or maybe the forest has always been here, just in different iterations. I could imagine a great deal of different scenarios about where and how long the forest has been. But, regardless of its past, what the forest was before I was in it would not matter. I would admire, respect, and depend on it in the same manner.

Where it is going, however, is a different story.

I will likely continue to live in the forest for as long as I am a bear, so it is certainly in my best interest to know and understand where the forest is going. What does the forest plan to do in the future? Will it continue being the forest? Will it stop being the forest? Will it invest in a new accessory (like a hat or something)? Will it always be okay with having me, a bear? How will the forest stop being the forest? Is fire involved?

The forest never responds to the questions no matter how loudly I growl them at trees. Should the forest decide to stop being the forest one day, I am not sure what I will do. I depend on the forest in just about every corner of my existence. Maybe there are more, though. I have never really entertained the idea extensively, but what if there is more than just the one forest? Maybe I do not live in the forest, but rather forest. If my forest ceases, perhaps I could go to one of these other possible forests. That poses new dangers and questions, though. Where is it? Is it nice? Does it have snakes? Does it have something worst than snakes (maybe double-snakes, whatever that could be)? What if it stops being a forest, too?

For now, I just have my forest and however long it will continue to be a forest. I suppose dwelling on the absence of something that has always been here is useless since, even if it does go away, what would I even be able to do?

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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The bat I met might want to be friends.

bat friend (2)

I had never met a bat before the bat that I met in my cave who flew into my fur.

I did not know anything about bats, but I had seen them from time to time while going through the forest, searching for neat rocks and licking clumps of moss. For a very long time, I thought they were birds, but when I saw one hanging upside down from a tree one night, I realized that only a very strange or sick bird might do something like that.

I have never really had an interest in meeting one, to be perfectly honest. It was never out of hatred or fear of what bats are or could be, I just did not know enough about them to know how to approach them, so I figured it was best to stay away from them.

If that seems thoughtless, that is because it was. I did not put much thought into how my potential interactions with any/all bats from now until I am no longer able to have interactions with bats. That carelessness comes from how infrequently I even see them. Bats are very rare from my observations, so I never had a way to gain an interest in meeting one.

That was until a bat flew at me and into my fur. Recently, I was spending a lovely evening in my cave, resting my chin on a sharp rock because my chin had itched and the rock was able to scratch it. It was a very nice way to spend my night, and I really figured that my chin-rock-scratching was going to be the last thing I did that night. Right when I felt my chin had been scratched enough, I heard a strange squeaking sound followed by what sounded like frantic flapping. The sounds got louder and louder and then my fur felt unsettled, rattled. When I turned my head toward the place of distraction, I was startled to find the close-up face of a tiny bat.

It stared.

I stared.

We let the moment linger.

And then I jumped and ran and whimpered as I scooted in circles around my cave floor, trying to convince myself that my fur was fine and on longer invaded by some flying creature of the night.

I eventually settled down, and when I looked up, I could see the bat hanging from the top of my cave, bathed in moonlight and my own fear.

I tried going to sleep once I realized that was what the bat was most likely doing. So I nestled my head under my paws and got some rest.

When I woke up, the bat was gone.

I think we might be friends now, but I really have no concrete way of knowing. My feelings about bats are still mixed. I do not know if they are vile, winged creatures of the night who have come to startle my fur and upset my sensibilities or just very confused, unfortunate looking creatures of the night who have come to startle my fur and upset my sensibilities. Either way, I hope next time the bat at least asks to come in before it furiously flies through my fur.

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.

It would be nice to be fed.

worm food (2)

Food is the most important thing in the forest (besides trees and the sky and maybe dirt because it seems like it is everywhere and something that plentiful has to be important). Luckily, many things count as food. Leaves count as food. Sticks count as food. Fish count as food. Anything you can fit into your mouth can and you have a desire to eat can and should be considered food.

It would make sense, then, to assume that gathering food is quite easy since just about everything is food. This is not the case. Food is not easy to gather. It never has been. Even a simple yet lovely meal of leaves, sticks, and fish can take long, exhausting hours to procure and prepare. That perfectly chewable plastic jug might make a wonderful breakfast, but it is not going to scoot (or whatever motion jugs use to get around) itself to your cave entrance.

You have to earn it.

You have earn all food.

Unless you are a baby bird.

I recently saw a tiny nest atop a tree outside of my cave. I could hear tiny baby birds chirping for something. Out of curiosity, I climbed another tree nearby to see if I could get a good look as to what was causing so much noise. I stumbled upon a mother bird feeding the baby birds. One at a time, she mashed up worms she had retrieved and spewed them into the baby birds’ mouths. As each one cried out for its turn, it was quickly silenced by a warm feeling of content.

It looked nice.

It was a feeling I wanted to have. I cannot remember anyone feeding me crushed up worms from a loving face (and that seems like something I would remember had it actually happened).

I asked Rob (the squirrel) if he would be willing to feed me crushed up worms, berries, leaves, or anything if I were willing to return the favor.

He shook his head at me in a way that made me feel bad about myself.

Then I thought about what I was asking… Surely I could handle my own chewing. Nobody needs to chew for me.

I asked Rob (the squirrel) an amended question: would he be willing to just bring me food every once in awhile if I would be willing to do the same. Or, even better, would he be able to drop food into my mouth?

He stared for a moment and then ran.

I did not know who else to ask. I tried the moldy rocks in my cave, but, in a way, they already give me lots of food by being moldy and delicious. Also, they do not talk (shy?).

It would be nice if something or someone was willing to feed me. I suppose, in a larger sense, the forest does. The forest gives me what I need, I just have to go get it. I hope the baby birds appreciate 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 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.

Accepting snakes: why I want to but I cannot.

image1 (2)

Snakes are horrifyingly terrible terror serpents who I assume only exist to make life for all other living organisms in the forest more difficult and exhausting.

I apologize for that very aggressive introduction, but snakes and I have a long, horrible history, and that history is almost completely based off snakes intruding on my personal space (mentally and physically) and harming me (mentally or physically).

When I push my emotions to the side and truly contemplate snakes as creatures in the forest (as they well deserve), I know they exist for reasons that are likely too complex or important for me to thoroughly understand and process. Snakes have a purpose. I know this. However, I wish I knew that the importance of this purpose outweighed my aggressive loathing for them.

I cannot figure out their purpose, though.

Why are snakes here and why does the forest need them and why can they not just leave me alone and exit my mind and my cave and never come near me ever?

I asked other creatures of the forest why snakes existed. I received varying answers. A opossum screeched at me (I assume she is afraid of snakes, too). The anthill I asked seemed neutral on the subject, responding mostly in silence and very organized rows of many, which makes sense given that ants seem to only care about ants, dirt, and how ants interact with dirt. Rob (the squirrel) (from whom I did not expect a rational or just answer) said that snakes have only one purpose: to be questioned about by me. He then laughed at me and stole an acorn I had found.

I also asked a lizard. My thinking was that lizards look quite similar to snakes (except for the legs and discernible body/tail and generally pleasant disposition), so perhaps lizards had more insight on the subject. The lizard said that everything has a purpose in the forest, and that often the purposes are very subtle and involve food. He added that these purposes only exist in the construct of the forest and have no value outside of the forest and, therefore, meant almost nothing on any scale larger than the forest so making cosmic sense of anything was ultimately futile and a waste of time. I liked the first part of the answer (it was difficult to consider the second part because of the food part of the first part), but it did not help. Are snakes food? Do snakes make food? Should I eat more snakes?

Snakes are a part of life. They always have been. They always will be. No matter how much I want snakes to not be a part of life, there is no changing these facts. I have to learn how to live with snakes. Or I have to begin eating all snakes (which I do not want to do because they have pointy teeth and the few times I have eaten snakes I felt a deep, uneasy essence in my being that I was unable to get rid of for days, even weeks on in).

Maybe I can just try to talk to snakes. I do not think I have ever done that. Maybe understanding snakes is like understanding any other creature: you just have to get to know them personally. And not eat them or assume they exist only to ruin your life.

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

Also, thank you to everyone who participated in the survey-based adventure Bear embarked upon on Twitter last week. Thousands of you voted to help him decide what basic decisions to make about his day. It was very fun, and he hopes to find time to do it again soon. 

PS

I talked to a snake and it bit me.