Bearness is a topic I have exhausted time and time again and for good reason: I still do not fully understand it. I do not know how or why understanding bearness could matter. I do not know what to do with an understanding of bearness. I do not even know if I am correctly understanding bearness, whether it be bearness in general or my own, specific, bearness. I could probably explore the topic of bearness forever and ever until I am not a bear anymore (though I hope that never happens because I like being a bear).
But for all the energy and time I put towards being a bear, I have done little thinking about the -ness of others. I have, of course, explored the surface level of others’ -ness. Trees, for example, have a treeness, I am sure, and I have spent time pondering what that might be like. I have wondered if trees count their branches and their leaves and their acorns as part of their treeness or if each part of a tree gets its own -ness (leafness, acornness, branchness, etc.). I have also definitely wondered what trees think of themselves and their place in the forest and whether or not they think about how I might think about those things.
However, when it comes to long-term, truly thoughtful reflection on treeness, I have never really wrestled with it. The same goes for pretty much any -ness: squirrelness, dirtness, dumpsterness, skyness, sunness. Everythingness. I have not invested the kind of dedication I have invested in my own -ness to any of these things.
Part of that is because none of these things will discuss their own -ness with me. Even when I ask, I am almost always met with silence and, in one very unfortunate incident, loud crashing sounds (I knocked over the dumpster (sorry)).
But that is no excuse, I suppose. Just because something will not discuss its -ness with me does not mean I should remain oblivious to that thing’s -ness. There must be better ways to understand the -ness others. And in doing so, perhaps I can even learn a little more about my own -ness. Maybe part of bearness is trying to understand everyone-else-ness. Or at least trying to do so.
If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? The newest adventure is all about safety!
For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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