Tag Archives: deer

An open letter to the deer across the river.


Dear deer,

I am a bear. In case you do not know which bear I am, I am the bear across the river who you sometimes glare at or spit towards. For as long as I have gone to the river (a favored place of mine for swimming, staring at my reflection, and trying not to drown when I catch fish), I have always seen you there. Sometimes you just drink the water from the river. Sometimes I am quite certain you are cursing me in some fashion. Sometimes you just stare at me. And I stare back.

There is a tense, ever present conflict between us that I am certain is rooted in a violent ancient history neither of us can truly comprehend. I sometimes feel like there has always been a deer and a bear staring at one another across that river, and the bear has always been a noble, beautiful beast, and the deer has always been an intolerable plague on the bear’s gentle sensibilities. I do not like admitting this, but I do not like you. You upset me. I can smell your rancid fur from across the river, and I would rather dip my snout into the muddy bank below than get any closer to your terrible stench. Also, your antlers are ridiculous.

I am sorry, and I take back the last comment (I am actually quite envious of your antlers because they are simply majestic). I do not want to add further damage to our already fragile relationship. My intentions are to do the opposite. I want to heal whatever ails between us. I want to learn to go to the river and not be disgusted by the horrible drool that drags from your filthy, surely disease ridden mouth.

I apologize again. That was uncalled for (though influenced by real experiences and feelings I have had).

I want to learn to accept you and everything you are, even the things about you that dig trenches of hate into the depths of my soul. I want to learn to share the river with you without you spitting at me and without me running from the horrible hacking sounds you make with your mouth and nose at the very same time.

We do not have to be friends, at least not at first. Perhaps never. But we do need to learn to accept one another. We need to learn from each other’s perspectives. I welcome you to my side of the river with open paws. Come drink with me one day. I promise I will not gag at your putrid smell or the way your strange teeth seem to be in a perpetual state of falling from your face.

And as for what you have done in the past to offend me, all is forgiven. As I am sure that you will forgive all I have done to offend you.

Thank you, deer, and I hope to see you soon,

A bear (across the river)

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.


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.

Some things smell worse than other things (deer).

deer smell (2)

Smells are curious things. They fill the forest (and my nose) with either tantalizing or intriguing aromas for what often seems like unknown reasons. In some cases, smells have a very clear-cut origin. If the wind brings me a whiff of burnt meat, I know that humans are cooking some sort of tubular snack on one of those fire spewing tiny dumpsters at the nearby park (those dumpsters are terrifying, by the way).

If I am walking through the forest (presumably looking for berries/acorns/old dirt to eat) and a particularly stinging stench coils up in my nostrils, I know that a skunk (or skunks) have found my presence offensive and have taken it upon themselves to let me and every other forest creature in the immediate area aware of their unhappiness. It makes me wonder what smells I make when I am upset.

But other smells are far more mysterious. At times, smell behavior can be very disorienting and, dare I say it, sinister (and yes, I realize that the aforementioned skunk smell may be considered quite diabolical, but it isn’t; that is simply one forest creature doing what it can do to better its own unique characteristics…or something to that affect…what I am trying to convey is that skunks are nice and my nose forgives them).

At this point, it has been well-documented that my relationship with the deer across the river is a strenuous one, but do not use the following example with any sort of bias: the deer stinks.

It knows it. I know it. It knows that I know it. And it knows that it bothers me.

The smell that permeates from the deer across the river is almost indescribable, but I will do my best to properly illustrate its horror:

If you were to imagine the smell of old fish that had been washed up on dry land for several weeks and for some reason a hawk decided to pluck if from the shore and use it to brush his beak after eating a rodent carcass and then drop that fish/rodent carcass hybrid into the opening of a rotten log that would later be rolled back into the same body of water from where the fish came and that fish was then eaten by a turtle that would later try to cross the flat black rock nearby only to be tragically hit and killed by shiny beasts who live on the flat black rock and left to bake on the black rock for several days before being collected by a human in a jumpsuit and taken to a place where humans in jumpsuits collect dead animals for some strange reason and then tossed into a vat filled with other dead animals (and cheese and rotten potatoes for some other strange reason), the stench of that culminate would be vaguely in the realm of how the deer across the river smells.

And the deer loves that it smells this way. Anytime I drink from the river the deer is sure to let me get a whiff. It stands ever so that the wind picks up the odor and delivers it directly to my nose (as much as I love the omnipresent wind, I often wonder if it conspires against me from time to time, corroborating with nefarious smells or perhaps even the deer). I do not know why the deer smells this way. I understand skunks and grilled meat snacks, but I do not understand how the deer can stand to be so smelly.

It makes me wonder if I also emit an offensive odor. If the deer has somehow gotten used to its own disgusting smell, perhaps I have gotten use to whatever smell I am putting out in the world.

If that were the case, however, someone would have told me by now. I have never been told I smell bad (the skunks would definitely tell me if they thought I was offensive to their what must be their delicate noses).

But the deer doesn’t seem to have any friends to tell him he smells.

There is a good reason for this. Perhaps he smells so horrendous because he has no friends. Or vice versa.

I am not going to tell him. He knows why. One day he will atone for the things he has done. And I will accept his strange smelling atonement. But until that day, the deer across the river will be alone in his smell.

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

My smells: are they for everyone or just me?

the stink (2)

I spent quite some time yesterday with my snout buried inside the crevices of fur between my claws. Past coming up for the occasional gulp of fresh air, I kept my face in the center of the smell consistently for a long time.

I liked it.

The smell, that is. I really liked it. The fur that is nestled there relaxes me and makes me feel good about myself, my fur, and my claws.

Rob (the squirrel), however, disagreed. Rob (the squirrel) approached me while I was enjoying the smells emitting from my feet, and he was quickly disturbed by the image. He aggressively asked me what I was doing and why I was doing it. I explained, and he asked if he could have a whiff as well. I did not see the harm in sharing such an intoxicating fragrance, so I let him smell the fur between my claws.

His eyes watered.

His face went sour.

He ran up a tree, nearly slamming his head into it as he recklessly escaped the odor of my feet.

I was hurt, honestly. Why did he find my foot smells so repulsive when I found them so delightful. I continued to smell my claw-fur for awhile before I decided to investigate why my smells might have upset Rob (the squirrel).

I had to question whether or not my nose was a good judge of a smell’s character. Just because I liked the smell of something, did that mean it was a universally beloved smell? Did that smell have any kind of popular opinion behind it? Did every creature experience smell in a unique manner?

I had to survey.

I first asked a raccoon in a dumpster I frequent if the fur between my claws smelled good. He was hesitant to try sniffing them, and, in the end, wound up biting them before running away. This was useful data for other questions I have about the forest (example: do raccoons like me?), but it did little in helping me understand my smell dilemma.

I decided to ask a longtime foe of mine for his opinion. I figured if the deer across the river had even the slightest interest in my smells, then those smells must be generally acceptable to all creatures who are not terrible, disgusting beasts and, therefore, Rob (the squirrel) was merely an odd exception.

The deer across the river told me my smells are as pointless as bears are. I then spent some time staring at him while sniffing the fur between my claws simply to spite him.

Finally, I tried testing my bear aromas on some mice who had slept under my belly that morning. Surely they found my belly fur smells enjoyable, so they must have something to say on the subject. They told me they were too consumed by the warmth of my belly fur to notice its smell. I offered them a chance to smell my  belly again just to get their opinions, but they slowly backed away from me in unison upon the suggestion.

I like my smells.

I know they might not be for everyone in the forest, but I do enjoy them. Perhaps we all have different ways of smelling, though, which should make me feel like I do not need the approval for my smells that I so desperately seek. But I still feel the need for that approval.

I hope you like my smells.

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

Why there are definitely ghosts in the forest and why you should be afraid of them and why I do not like them.

Ghosts (2)

Why there are definitely ghosts in the forest:

The forest is a majestic and magical place full of wonder and incredible creatures, things, and places. I have lived in the forest for as long as I can remember, and even I am not to able explain every little nook, cranny, and strange occurrence that I encounter. For every amazing aspect of the forest that needs no explanation and only needs to be experienced, there are several aspects that are terrifying and mysterious in the most anxiety inducing manner possible.

That is why there are ghosts. The forest is amazing, of course, but all that amazement comes with a great degree of mystery. With so much mystery, there is no room for ever even questioning the existence of ghosts. Ghost definitely live in the forest, and they definitely come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and species.

Many things can be ghosts, including but not limited to:

  • Deer (especially deer)
  • Rocks
  • Trees
  • Branches
  • Lizards
  • Owls
  • Anything underground
  • Possibly dirt
  • The moon, probably
  • Ghosts (ghosts of ghosts)

Conversely, many things cannot be ghosts:

  • Bears (probably)
  • Insects
  • Wait, maybe insects can be ghosts
  • Oh no, imagine the ghost ants!

Why you should be afraid of them:

The mere possibility of ghost ants should be enough for you to never want to engage with any type of ghost ever. There are other reasons, though. Ghosts will follow you for a very long time and make many scary sounds that you will not be able to identify so you will simply blame ghosts. They seem to enjoy this kind of behavior. It is a bit unfortunate and sad that most ghosts have nothing better to do but to haunt unsuspecting forest dwellers, but that is just part of being a ghost in the forest, I suppose.

Ghosts can also make you feel bad about yourself because you are not a ghost and you probably will not know if you could ever be a ghost (unless you are one of the things mentioned above that can definitely be a ghost and you have read this or other literature on the subject). Though ghosts are scary, who would not like to at least experience being a ghost in the forest? Being possibly barred from that experience while also being haunted by it is strange and quite terrible.

Why I do not like them:

I do not like ghosts because I cannot find definite evidence they actually exist like I can other things like rocks and trees and the sky. I know they exist, but, at the same time, I really do not know they exist, and that is something I find very maddening.

I am still researching the existence of ghosts in the forest, but it truly is a difficult assignment to take on given how scary of an assignment it is. I hope to one day find the evidence I need to reconcile with forest ghosts. Or, at the very least, I hope the raccoon ghost that has definitely probably been following me for the last few weeks stops and finds something better 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

Here are 100 tips on how to stay safe in the forest.

the deer

  1. Wrap yourself in many leaves
  2. Avoid fast, large, metal things
  3. Know where clumps of soothing moss are
  4. Befriend many rocks
  5. Never follow or emulate any of Rob (the Squirrel)’s advice, anecdotes, rants, suggestions, dares, doomsday scenarios, aggressive slurs, etc.
  6. Drink lots of water
  7. But not too much water
  8. Do not drown
  9. Never initiate conflict with a tree
  10. Respect fish and their space (they will bite)
  11. Bite fish carefully (they have sharp insides)
  12. Remember: most sticks are sharp
  13. So are rabbit skeletons
  14. Do not take more than you deserve (the forest has a way of making sure it is always balanced and how it does so is not always pleasant)
  15. Do not get tangled up in spools of fishing line, shredded tents, garbage bags, hammocks, etc.
  16. Beware of loud sounds as they often belong to large things (refer to tip 2)
  17. Do not die
  18. Do not fall over
  19. Do not stand on your head for more than a few seconds
  20. Learn Spanish
  21. Claws and eyes do not mix; keep them separated
  22. Do not jump out of trees
  23. Not all dirt is soft
  24. Eat when you are hungry
  25. Do not threaten lightning
  26. Make peace with your enemies
  27. But not with the deer across the river
  28. Be wary of the deer across the river
  29. Do not befriend the deer across the river
  30. Smite the deer across the river
  31. Find out where the deer across the river lives
  32. Exact revenge against the deer across the river
  33. Make the deer across the river atone for his sins
  34. Do not feel bad about what happens to the deer across the river; he deserves this
  35. …He deserves all of this…
  36. Remain silent as often as possible
  37. Bees are not food
  38. Snakes are not sticks; do not try to scratch your back with them
  39. Snakes are also not rabbits; they do not wish to be petted
  40. Do not pet too many rabbits (this can create rival factions within the rabbit community that can lead to a lot of animosity toward you; remember, if you cannot pet them all, do not pet most of them and leave because you want to take a nap)
  41. Some leaves can make you itchy; do not touch them
  42. Always bring a towel, or fur and sticks stitched together in a rectangular shape
  43. Never exact revenge
  44. Unless you are exacting revenge against the deer across the river
  45. Carefully exact your revenge against the deer across the river
  46. Wait
  47. Maybe this is not right
  48. Maybe you should forgive the deer across the river
  49. No
  50. Never forgive the deer across the river
  51. Make sure your toes get wet once in awhile
  52. What did the deer across the river ever do to you?
  53. It must have been awful
  54. It made you angry and spiteful for such a long time
  55. Do not chew on rocks for too long
  56. But did the deer do something so unforgivable that you feel revenge is justified?
  57. Maybe
  58. Be rational
  59. Of course not
  60. Avoid ticks when possible
  61. Regard tip 26 once more
  62. Also regard rule 40 once more because it is important enough to repeat
  63. Try to understand the deer across the river
  64. Understand that shadows do not stay in the same place for long so move with them when necessary
  65. The deer across the river is another forest creature just like you, it is vulnerable to the elements just like you, it feels and has friends and eats berries just like you, it has horns, which is weird and a little unsettling, but you cannot let those pointy sticks on his narrow head give you the impression that he is not a capable and decent animal, deserving of love and compassion and, most importantly, forgiveness
  66. Forgive the deer across the river
  67. He spat at you when you tried to forgive him?
  68. Why?
  69. Why do that, deer?
  70. Eat grass whenever possible (it is good for the stomach and tastes like lovely dirt)
  71. Deer, how could you do this? How could you slap the paws of forgiveness?
  72. Stop the cycle of violence and misunderstanding that runs rampant throughout the forest
  73. Trust lizards
  74. Accept the negative response and be okay with your inability to control the deer across the river
  75. Try to find a new river so you can avoid the deer across the river
  76. Name trees when you can, but also be respectful of trees who already have names (sorry about the misunderstanding, Stephen)
  77. There is no new river
  78. That was the only river
  79. The deer is still there, across the river
  80. Do not make eye contact with the deer across the river
  81. Just drink your water and go
  82. This is not so bad
  83. It is actually peaceful
  84. The deer keeps making terrible hacking sounds, but they do not seem to be directed at you for once
  85. Enjoy this time
  86. It might not last forever
  87. He is looking at you
  88. Staring
  89. Stop it
  90. Please, deer
  91. Please
  92. Try to remember where you bury important things since finding them again can be very difficult
  93. Stare back
  94. Show some teeth?
  95. Yeah, show the teeth
  96. No, wait, do not threaten the deer across the river
  97. You must learn to live with this awful creature who makes awful hacking sounds with its silly narrow head
  98. Forgive the deer across the river, just do it
  99. Live peacefully with the deer
  100. Keep your teeth clean by chewing on loose sticks you find

Thank you for reading my 100 tips on how to stay safe in the forest.

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?