Tag Archives: forest

Special dumpster days.

dumpsters-2

For the most part, there are not a whole lot of things to look forward to when it comes to living in the forest. Many things about forest living are difficult, and most of my time is spent trying to avoid being hungry and/or awake, and I would guess most creatures probably agree with me (unless they are deer since deer enjoy all the needless suffering that goes on all the time). Being in the forest is generally a moment-to-moment sort of existence, and even really thinking about what might happen next can be upsetting since it often does not happen (at least not the positive possibilities).

There is an exception, however. Once in awhile, when the dumpsters are nearly full and the plastic bags within them are beginning to rip apart, there comes a day when all the dumpsters around the forest are accompanied by even more dumpsters, smaller in size and different in shape but just as lovely as their bigger, differently shaped friends. They fill the tiny backspaces that are normally occupied by the dumpsters, and then all around everywhere I go I can see floods of various shaped and sized dumpsters, and it is so incredibly lovely.

The best time to go is at night, of course. You do not have to spend the entire evening searching and hunting for the perfect dumpster diving place, either. There are so many to choose from and they are so filled to the brim with treasures that it is actually easy to get one that you like. The bountiful amount of goods also leads to far fewer instances of raccoon/opossum attacks/hissing fits. There is just so much to go around that no creature even gets too upset when a his/her dumpster gets invaded. That creature just moves on to the next prize.

The only problem with nights like these are the human encounters. Humans, as I have established many times, are strange, loud creatures of the forest that mostly yell when they see you. I have been yelled at by many, many humans, and being yelled at scares me more than almost anything.

But even the human yelling fails to stop nights like these from being so absolutely enjoyable in every way imaginable. I have even caught myself, mid-dumpster diving, trash bag in my mouth, ignoring the shouts of the humans who wanted me to leave the dumpster I was in. I was so hypnotized by the allure of the smells and tastes and wonderfulness of the entire dumpsterscape, that no force, even the harsh, shrill voice of an angry human, could stop me from enjoying myself.

It is one of the few escapes from harsh forest life that is offered, and even though it does not seem to happen nearly as often as it should, I, and you should as well, enjoy every moment of it. It is the one thing to look forward to 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? 

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.

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I do not know what turtles are doing.

turtle stuff (2)

The greatest mysteries of the forest always lie within something you cannot see. The inside of clouds? Nobody truly knows what is going on in there. Rocks? It is impossible to truly understand them (at least through their insides). I had no idea what was inside a tree until I slept in a log by accident once. It involves a lot of bugs and wood, though, I can tell you that much.

That brings me to turtles. No other creature in the forest is so forward with its limbs while being so mysterious about its belly/back/torso area. On one paw, I feel like I know a lot about turtles: they move slowly; they like to eat leaves like I do; they smell interesting; and they look like they generally enjoy life and the forest. On the other paw, I feel like nobody knows anything about turtles except for other turtles.

When a turtle slides its pointy head into its shell, there is no telling where it goes or why it goes there or for how long it will be there. Asking is no help, of course, since they usually respond to queries by going into their shells.

So what is going on in there?

I have a few guesses, but they are really just that. Maybe the inside of the shell is their true home, and it is where they stash their collections of wonderful forest treasures (leaves, rocks, etc.). Or perhaps they go into the shell mainly to get out of the sun, which can be very hot and uncomfortable from time to time. Part of me hopes the shell is just a decoration, something turtles get at an early age that they customize as they get older.

Like I said, it does smell nice, so there is that.

Not knowing about turtles and their shells is frustrating. I like to relate to other creatures of the forest as best as I can, but with turtles, it seems nearly impossible. I want to know what it is like to have a shell on my belly/back/torso area. I want to know the purpose of having a shell other than the nice smell.

To try to emulate the experience, I have often pretended that my cave was a kind of shell for me. I poke my head and my forearms outside the front entrance of my cave and pretend I am traversing through the forest, understanding the plight of the turtle.

It is not very… authentic, but I feel like I have to try.

But maybe that is the truth about the turtle shell: I am not supposed to understand it. After all, I am not a turtle. I do not have a shell, and I never will. And maybe it is okay to not be able to truly understand something about someone else, no matter how interesting you might find it. After all, there are probably things the turtle would like to know about bearness that the turtle could never understand. Maybe one day one will ask me about them.

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.

What is the long, flat black rock and why is it so scary?

road kill  (2)

If you travel in the forest in one direction for a long time, eventually you will run into the long, flat black rock. The long, flat black rock is a rock. It is long and flat. It is also very black. It goes on forever it seems. You can look the direction the long, flat black rock is laid out and it keeps going until it becomes the sky.

It has yellow stripes. Sometimes the yellow stripes are long and continuous like the rock, but other times they break apart and are more like yellow dashes. Sometimes there are white stripes on either edge of the long, flat black rock. Sometimes there are not.

This rock is a mystery to me, and it always has been. I visit the rock every once in awhile (and usually by complete accident), and whenever I do, I try to investigate it. I have learned a lot about the rock, though I am sure that there is much more to discover.

It gets hot very easily, particularly during the summer. It gets so hot, in fact, that it becomes nearly impossible to walk on the long, flat black rock without burning your paws.

It does not taste like most rocks.

I know because I licked it.

And I have also tasted many rocks.

Probably the most disconcerting thing about the long, flat black rock is that it is often the site of many dead creatures from the forest. Recently, I came across the long, flat black rock only to find a opossum laying out on top of it. I asked the opossum why it was using the long, flat black rock as a bed, to which it responded with silence. I asked why it was being so silent, to which it responded with more silence. Finally, I approached the opossum (which was strange because most opossums ran from me upon sight), and I got close enough to realize why the opossum was being so antisocial.

It was flat.

As flat as the long, flat black rock.

Its tiny teeth were ground into the rock while its pale tongue was covered in blood and splayed across its own face.

Its belly was open.

The sight frightened me, so I ran as fast as I could away from the long, flat black rock and into the forest.

Then I ran back to the rock because I felt bad for the opossum, and I did not simply want to leave it on a rock that would surely bake in the sun, roasting the opossum with it.

When I arrived, I was startled again. This time by something that was not dead. It was fast and shiny and loud and hit the poor opossum again and screeched past me and screamed at me and I ran.

Again.

I ran into the forest, upset I could do nothing for the opossum.

I have not been back to the long, flat black rock since. I do not know if I want to.

I do not want to become a opossum.

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.

 

Here is a list of things to do in the snow.

The forest has been lucky enough to get a little bit of snow recently. It is always nice to see the colors of the forest shift in such soft seeming ways when snow drops on everything around. Trees, the ground, rocks, and even forest creatures carry the snowy coats until it all melts away.

There are a many things you can do in the snow that you simply cannot do without the snow:

  • Bury your paws into the soft ground
  • Roll around
  • Doodling
  • Change your fur color (black to white for me)
  • Wear water
  • Leave very obvious trails
  • See a white squirrel
  • Trip on things that are covered in snow
  • I am sorry, white squirrel
  • There are several white squirrels
  • They scattered
  • Now they are in a tree?
  • Squirrels, I am  sorry, I did not see you
  • Throw snow that in shaped into tiny balls
  • No those are rocks
  • Throw snow covered rocks
  • Please stop throwing snow covered rocks at me
  • Please
  • This is not fun
  • I do not like the snow
  • I hate the snow
  • Please leave, snow
  • I am going to run back to my cave where there is no snow or squirrels or snow covered rocks or anything like that
  • They are chasing me
  • Stop
  • Please
  • Leave me alone
  • Avoid it
  • You can avoid the snow
  • You can avoid the snow by going somewhere that is covered and will not let the snow inside
  • Like my cave
  • The squirrels are here?
  • How did they get here so quickly?
  • They have snow?
  • There is so much snow in my cave?
  • How did it get here?
  • Did they bring it?
  • Please, stop throwing snow and snow covered rocks at me
  • Run
  • Hide in this dumpster
  • No snow in here
  • No squirrels
  • Everything is okay
  • Sleep here
  • Wake up here
  • Squirrels?
  • How did they find me?
  • Why is there snow here now?
  • Please
  • Run

Snow is terrible, and everything about it is terrible. I do not recommend being around snow.

bear snow (2)

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

Imagine the thrashing.

tree dreams (2)

I like to ask all the things I meet whether or not they dream. Some give me forward, understandable answers. Rob (the squirrel), for example, always tells me about a single dream he has where is he king of the forest and all efforts by all creatures of the forest must advance his influence and/or provide resources for him. He says his dream always ends with a large bird rebelling his rule and snatching him from his stick built throne. He always wakes up right as the bird of prey’s vicious talons enter his stomach.  Strange but understandable.

I never ask for that much detail exactly, but I always figure it is good to let a squirrel express him/herself. Squirrels can act a bit… off when they do not get exactly what they want.

Some creatures have nicer dreams. A mole I accidentally sat on once and asked this question of to distract from the awkward topic of me accidentally sitting on her described very calming, sound based dreams. She told me that the sound of her tiny claws digging through soil relaxes her in her sleep for some reason as her mind recollects it during repose. It is usually accompanied with the mumbles and rumbles of things above her. I figured she would be frustrated by the sounds, but she explained to me that they are so familiar to her despite being a bit of a mystery, so they are soothing.

Not everything answers the question with a coherent response. Every raccoon I have asked, for example, has hissed at me as a response to my dream question. I realize that most of the raccoons are in the middle of a crucial dumpster diving expedition when I ask, but the hissing is really quite rude. Opossums, too, tend to respond in hisses as they rummage refuse.

The hisses are actually comforting compared to the silent responses I get from the most fascinating inhabitants of the forest. No rock has ever told me about a dream it has had. I have met many rocks, and not a single one has expressed even the slightest interest in dreams or sleep (or in other topics like water, fish, the sky, food, other rocks, or even the concept of silence). This sometimes leads me to suspect that perhaps rocks are not living, but I usually ignore this line of thinking since it seems to me inappropriate and slightly rude to presume the living status of something you are not living as. I am not, and have never been, a rock, so I have a hard time writing all rocks off as nonliving things.

Trees are a different story, however.

I know trees are living.

I know because they change in shape and color and they move and grow and sometimes I even think I hear them sing to me when it gets particularly windy.

But they never speak.

Trees do not take the time to speak to you. No tree will express joy, discontent, or any other emotion even if given a perfectly suitable platform to do so. Trees remain silent, and I think it might be a choice of theirs.

So, as you might expect, no tree will answer my dream question. I have asked nearly every tree I have ever encountered, but every tree I ask gives the same stoic silence that the last one gave me.

But I really want to know. I want to know if trees rest and if they do, I want to know if they dream and if they do, I want to know what they dream about. I think things that dream tend to dream about the things they witness, feel, consider, and experience. Trees have the time and space to consider and witness just about everything, so their dreams must be amazing concoctions of patched together bits of everything that has been, is, and ever will be.

Their nightmares must be terrifying.

As interesting as it must be to be there for everything, it must also lead to some traumatic experiences. Trees see the bad, nasty side of the forest. They see the part of the forest that insists you survive off anything you can find if you desire to survive at all. They see how cruel winter can be to every creature and how the blistering sun can be during the summer and how there just are not enough resources for every creature and how babies of any species can be desserts for another species.

That must make for some terrifying nightmares. A tree suddenly waking from a horrible dream must make for intimidating sight. Imagine all the thrashing it could do with those desperate, all-seeing limbs.

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 read a list by Bear that details how to approach opossums over at The Higgs Weldon.

A cricket slept in my mouth.

cricket

I do not know how I look when I fall asleep. I like to believe that my pristine fur calmly rests against the cool rock floor of my cave while my heavy, slow breathing gently vibrates through the forest’s night air. According to Rob (the squirrel), who has watched me sleep many times for reasons he will not explain to me, my entire body twitches as I rustle around on the ground, tossing and turning throughout the night and making sounds that are somewhere between growls and desperate gasps for air. Regardless as to which one is true, I would think it must be difficult for any creature to find a reliable place for repose near me while I sleep.

Yet one has.

I recently woke up to find something sleeping in my mouth. At first, I was unable to determine what the lumpy, salty mystery in my mouth was. I was tempted to just eat it (as I do with most lumpy, salty mysteries I find in or out of my mouth), but something told me to stay my jaws and wait. After a long morning of an open, dry jaw, I finally felt the tiny intrusion slip from my face. After shutting my mouth to let a torrent of soothing saliva rescue my tongue, I sniffed the ground below me.

What I found was a small cricket.

Perhaps small is not the right way to describe it (I have no idea if this cricket was small by cricket standards, but I do know that all crickets are small compared to me, trees, the sky, and even most mice). It was definitely a cricket, however small or big it might have been. It made a lovely chirping sound at me and then hopped away before I could ask any questions.

I did not put much more thought into the situation for the rest of the day. I was glad I had not accidentally eaten the cricket, but I also found its intrusion to be a tad bit inconvenient and somewhat unsettling.

Night came. I slept.

Day came. I woke up.

The cricket was in my mouth again.

I did not wait all morning to see if it would simply jump out this time. Instead, my tongue was its alarm clock as I pushed the cricket out of my mouth. It seemed startled, it chirped at me, and then it went on its way.

I must have made my point. The cricket never slept in my mouth again. I, at first, felt no remorse for my actions against the cricket. It was okay to sleep in my cave, I told myself, but I found it difficult to abide one sleeping inside my mouth without my explicit permission.

As the thought lingered in my mind, however, I contemplated how I sleep. I have never once asked my cave (and is not audacious for me to claim it my cave?) if I could sleep inside of it. I have napped on top of many things without explicit permission: dumpsters, abandoned campsites, piles of leaves, moss, a family of opossums (only once and by complete accident and nobody was permanently injured), on tree branches, and even under the sky.

I have never asked any of these things if I could have the privilege of using their personal vessels as my personal bed. And many of these things (except for the opossums anyway) tower in size compared to me as I did the cricket. I felt no need to ask something so massive for permission to rest on or under or inside of it, so why would the cricket feel it had to do the same with me?

I began to regret my hasty actions against the cricket, and I even considered how easy it could be for me to experience the cricket’s plight. After all, what could stop the cave in which I sleep from one day choosing to spit me out as I had done to the cricket?

Nothing.

Should the cave do so, I would be forced to leave.

The night of the same day I forced the cricket from my mouth, I went to sleep with my mouth open. Intentionally. I was awake for quite some time, waiting and hoping the cricket would show up and rest where it once must have felt so comfortable.

The cricket never came.

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?

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?