Tag Archives: I am a bear

I found a milk jug. Now what?

Milk jug (2)

Everything and everyone in the forest (as far as I can tell) seems to have a very overt, defined purpose. Trees are homes for creatures, fur scratchers for me, and generally great for the aesthetics of the forest. The river gives us water and a place to see ourselves in wavy reflections. Squirrels are entertaining at best and chaotic wild cards at worst (which also has its uses). Even the deer across the river has some purpose. I do not know what that purpose is, but I am sure there is one and I like to pretend it is not just to make me feel horrible about being near the deer across the river from time to time.

We all have a purpose in the forest, and we all interact with and play off of each others’ purposes. That is why it is so alarming when I come across something in the forest that seems to lack a discernible purpose (to me, that is).

Many strange things find their way to the forest (usually by way of dumpster treasures or humans (campsites and such)), and it can be difficult to figure out why these things exist.

The milk jug was a perfect example. I had no idea it was even called a milk jug until Rob (the squirrel) told me it was a milk jug. I asked him what it did, and he told me the name explained everything I needed know.

Milk jug.

So, naturally, I chewed on it. The milk jug certainly did a fine job at fulfilling the role of a thing to be chewed on, but (and I do not mean to sound too cynical or pessimistic here) that can be said of just about anything I can chew on (which is most things).

I decided to carry the milk jug with me to give it some more time to express its reasoning for its being or at least enough time for me to figure that out on my own. Later that day, in my cave, I sat with my belly pressed against the cool, moldy rock floor as I stared at the milk jug, waiting for it to explain itself.

It never did. It just sat there.

I took the milk jug to the river to see if a change in scenery could help inspire it to be the best possible milk jug.

When we arrived, we sat at the edge of the river, waiting.

Then I nudged the milk jug into the water. For a very brief moment, I was terrified that I might have just drowned the milk jug just to prove something about it to me, which was an absurd and horrible notion. In my panic, I jumped into the river to follow the milk jug, but I was surprised to find that it was able to float better than I could.

Maybe that was its purpose.

The deer across the river scoffed at me as this happened, which I pretended to ignore even though it made me feel bad about myself.

At the end of the day, I carried the milk jug back to where I found it: the dumpster near the sharp fence I dug a whole under so I did not have to climb the fence because it is sharp.

I am still not entirely sure why the milk jug exists and what it is for, but I figure that the place for it to do or be what it needs to do or be is its home.

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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Do I think about being a bear too much?

bear brain (2)

Often when I say things, I remind myself and others that I am a bear (so much so that if I do not remind myself and others I am a bear, some worry). It is something I cannot help; I am always thinking about how I am a bear. Sometimes I am trying to deeply consider my bearness and how it affects the world and how the world affects it. Other times I am just reminding myself of my bearness.

Either way, I am almost always thinking about being a bear.

Is that a bad thing?

I know it is not good to be obsessed with something, no matter what it is, but is it also not good to be constantly concerned with what or who you are and your place in the world? Normally, I would assume it is fine, but recently, while giving some more thought on my bearness and such, I thought about my thinking of being a bear might not necessarily be the same thing as me actually being a bear.

I am now beginning to worry that I am not being a bear nearly as much as I am thinking about being a bear. What does thinking about being a bear really do for me that being a bear cannot do? I can think all day about being a bear and eating a delicious grease stained napkin from a dumpster that the hypothetical me in my mind might find, but that does not mean I am going to get to eat that delicious grease stained napkin in real life. In fact, that grease stained napkin might not even be real. At least the hypothetical me in my mind is based off something I know is real (the real me), but that napkin? I made it up.

Making things up confuses this even more. I can think about being anything I want. I can think about being a tree or a squirrel or a cloud or a snake or a bird or two bears or a thousand bears. No matter what I think of, however, it does not change my actually being a bear in any way. Also, I do not get to be any of those things I listed. I am not a thousand bears or a snake or a tree. I am just a bear. One, single bear.

So should I think about being a bear less?

It seems impossible to completely stop thinking about being a bear (it is the thing with which I have the most experience), but I should I reduce my bear-thinking habits?

Should I simply be a bear instead?

Or is thinking about being a bear just part of being a bear?

And maybe overthinking about being a bear is just part of being a bear?

And maybe thinking about how thinking about not being a bear and a bunch of other things instead is also just a part of being a bear?

I do not know.

I suppose, for now and until someone or something tells me I am not doing it correctly, I will continue to just be a bear, whatever thinking comes along with being 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

Perhaps there are infinity bears?

image1

Counting is hard sometimes. I often find myself wondering why there are certain numbers of bear parts that make up my body. I know that I have four legs to help promote mobility and stability. I have two eyes to help me see (and count things).

But not everything about me seems to make sense. Some of my parts are simply uncountable. For instance, I often wonder how many strands of hair make up my fur. I have tried to count them many times but have failed miserably. Usually I lose track or fall asleep or run out of visible patches of fur (I once employed Rob (the squirrel) to help count all the fur on my back, but he wound up counting acorns instead; it was very confusing and unproductive).

My teeth are also difficult to inventory because I cannot see them. I have felt them with my tongue, but my tongue is an unreliable accountant.

I assume that the number of hair and teeth I maintain is an appropriate amount for bears and won’t fluctuate too much in the course of my existence. But if that number does change, do I become more or less bear? I hope not. I hope my bearness retains all the qualities that make me a bear despite any missing teeth or newly grown fur.

The perplexing nature of numerical values is also applicable to the forest itself. I know how many Rob (the squirrel)s there are. One. Just one. That much I know. But I have no idea how many trees there are. I’m sure I would eventually be able to count them all if I kept a thorough tally, or I if were to mark them so they would not be recounted, but other matters seem to take precedence over this goal: food, naps, rolling in dirt, more naps, etc.

Even if I could count every tree in the forest, what would it accomplish? I know that I would rest a little easier knowing that number, but would it shed any light on the number of other things around me? Probably not. What do trees know about the quantities of other things in the surrounding world? Very little, I would guess (no offense, trees).

Much like my teeth and fur, there are things in the forest that change so rapidly, they would be impossible to count. Take clouds for example. They shift and float across the sky without warning. They change color and disappear. How could anyone be able to keep up with that sort of behavior? Perhaps clouds simply do not want to be counted.

I am easy to count. I am one bear. One, single bear. I do not know how many other bears there are. I assume more than just me. Perhaps there are bears in other places beyond the forest. Or maybe even beyond the clouds.

Maybe, just maybe, there are more than just one of me. There could be infinite versions of me across infinite versions of the forest. If this is the case, counting my legs and fur and teeth would be acts of futility. How do you count to infinity?

I suppose counting things shouldn’t be so worrisome. Rob (the squirrel) says he never counts things and believes there is simply enough things around at any given time. I suppose, on some level, he has a point.

The hypothetically infinite numbers of me have yet to come crashing down on one another, so I guess things are as they should be.

Rob (the squirrel) ate three of my acorns.

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

I worry about what I look like when I run.

Bear running (2)

I run when I need to run. It has its uses, running that is. For instance, just the other day I saw a tree with no leaves on its branches and its twiggy limbs were smacking up against another tree that did have leaves, ripping the leaves from the leaved tree. I thought I saw a tree murder in progress and, though I am ashamed to admit it, I felt the need to run as fast as I could. I was lost in the forest all night after running aimlessly for so long, but at least I got away from the tree murder.

I also sometimes run when I have bursts of energy for no apparent reason. It feels good to stretch out my legs and feel the wind brush through my fur. And even though I feel tired when I am done, I feel quite refreshed shortly after running.

I actually like to run.

But I do not like doing it in front other creatures…

I was recently running through the forest after thinking an interesting looking rock I found was actually a ghost when I suddenly heard a chuckling. I looked toward the sound to find several squirrels (oddly none of them Rob (the squirrel)) staring at me and laughing hysterically. I stopped mid-gallop and stared back. They were heckling me. At least five squirrels. All heckling me. One even did an impression of me by placing its back end high into the air and shuffling its front legs frantically. The other squirrels laughed at the impression. One laughed so hard it fell out of the tree.

I did not stay much longer to see the crowd further analyze my running. I trudged (at a very slow pace) back to my cave to lick my wounds.

The heckles haunted my dreams that night. I had a dream about one large squirrel poking me with a stick as I tried to run, but when I looked down, I had no legs. No paws. No way to run. Instead, I rolled through the forest as the squirrel kept poking and stabbing me.

I woke up growling and shuffling my feet… frantically.

Now I am consistently worried about how I look as I run through the forest. I even find myself not running from time to time, even when I really want to. What if the squirrels are watching? What if other creatures are watching? What if I really do look silly as I run?

I do not like running as much now. I want to run. I want to like to run. But the constant fear of not running how I am supposed to run keeps me from doing what I want to do.

Maybe one day I can see another bear run. Maybe the example could show me how it is really supposed to be done. Maybe I can learn to like running and maybe I can learn to run how a bear is supposed to run or maybe those squirrels will just leave me alone.

Or maybe I will just walk from now on.

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

Please do not scream at me.

Screaming (2)

There are many things that scare me: loud, unidentifiable sounds; loud, identifiable sounds; not being a bear; being too much of a bear; loud, angry opossums; fish who have sharp teeth; the idea of trees possibly ending one day and me having to understand a forest without trees and considering maybe it would be easier to see everyone from a distance but then again maybe it is nice not being able to see everyone from a long distance; drowning; hunger; Rob (the squirrel) (please do not tell him).

I could go on.

And I will for a moment: birds that stare at me aggressively; tents collapsing on me while I am sifting through them; possible anti-bear sentiments that various woodland creature or maybe even rocks hold but are not vocal about while I am in their presence; rocks maybe not liking me; overthinking rocks; disrespecting rocks by considering my analysis of them “overthinking”; not having fur; getting trapped in a dumpster.

There is one thing I really do not like, however. Something that bothers me more than any other fear or anxiety I have. A thing that makes me worry about leaving my cave in the morning.

That thing is other things screaming at me.

High pitched, loud shouting sounds coming from any being and directed toward me makes my fur stand up straight and my back shiver. It fills my mind with unease and worry.

Please.

Do not scream at me.

The strange thing about my burdensome worry is that I have only been screamed at by a few things just a handful of times.

Once, a tree and the sky screamed at me practically at the same time. I was out in the woods, licking a rock, when the sky made a terrifying, violent screaming sound. Before I could even process how terrified I was, a tree right by me began to scream too. Then it fell over.

I ran.

I ran as fast as I could to my cave and hid there until I napped.

I still do not know why the tree and the sky screamed at me in such a manner. Maybe they did not like the way I was licking that rock. Maybe they did not like me. I do not know, but it upsets me to no end.

A human screamed at me once, too.

I once found and explored a large, strange object near a dumpster I frequent. At first, I thought the object was just a large rock, but I could smell some kind of delicious food within the rock. I looked for an entrance or some kind of opening. After some searching, I found a way into the rock. It was not a rock, though. It was actually a cave. A well lit, strangely decorated cave. This cave was amazing. It had a tiny, personal sun inside of it. It also lacked rabbit skeletons and, instead, had various colors plastered all around the walls of the cave. This cave was fascinating.

And it had food!

There was another, much tinier, cave inside this large cave and it was filled with food! I started to rummage through the tiny cave. It was more bountiful than any dumpster I had ever encountered.

Then, the screaming began.

A human was hurling loud, high pitched screeching sounds at me and making very aggressive hand gestures at me.

I was more terrified than when the tree and the sky screamed at me.

Again, I ran.

I ran to my cave.

It did not have food or lovely colors or caves inside of caves, but it also did not have anything screaming at me.

I still worry about screaming. Though it so infrequently happens, I still have anxiety about it and feel like it could happen again at any moment. I sometimes try to think about why those things screamed at me. Why make awful sounds at me that just scare me? Did I deserve those sounds? I have no idea. Was I merely misinterpreting these sounds? Were they not even directed toward me or about me? I do not know.

But I do know the sounds. I do know how much I hate them. And I do know I do not want them to happen to me again.

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

Am I too much bear?

bear echo (2)

Am I too much bear? Does my bearness have a maximum capacity that I sometimes overflow with fuzziness and sniffing dirt and eating acorns and rolling in grass (you know, bear things)? It is hard to say. I often feel that I am exactly the right amount of bear. While my weight seems to fluctuate according to sticks I like to step on, perhaps measurements of bearness cannot be collected in common physical data. Maybe bearness is something intangible. A feeling you can’t put your paw on.

I took to surveying some fellow forest dwellers to get their input on my bearness. The results were mixed, as one would expect.

Badger:

‘Q’

‘You are a bear…I suppose a bear of an acceptable size. Does that answer your question? No? Then I don’t know what to tell you. I’m going back to digging. Sorry I couldn’t help.’

Rob (the squirrel):

‘Q’

Rob (the squirrel) replied with that strange barking sounds squirrels make and scurrying up a tree. Then he threw an acorn at me, but I dodged it. This seemed to frustrate him so he ran away. I am still trying to interpret this answer.

Rabbit:

‘Q’

‘If I tell you, I will need a favor in return. You have to promise. I’ll give you all the info you want regarding your own bearness, but there is something you much help me with. Agreed? Good. Shake on it…’

Apparently my bearness was too much for the rabbit. He stopped talking (and moving) after our pawshake. I even waited for a long time for him to say or do anything again. Nothing. I suppose I bored him.

Another Rabbit:

‘Q’

‘I’d love to answer your existential question but I’m in quite some rush. A friend, and I use the term “friend” loosely, stole a rather impressive gathering of apples I had amassed in my burrow and hid them from me.’

‘Q’

‘Sure I can tell you what he looked like. He looked like me. Long ears, furry tail, etc. Seen him? No? Okay, well if you do, you come find me. Thanks.’

Opossum:

‘Q’

‘Hhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeccccccccccccccc  Hisssssssssssss Rrrrrrgrgrrgrgrgrg Heeeeeeeeececeecec.’

I probably should not have asked my question while the opossum was in a dumpster.

Raccoon:

‘Q’

‘Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr’

I probably should not have asked my question while the raccoon was in a dumpster.

Dumpster:

‘Q’

Unfortunately, the dumpster did not have a verbal or physical response. It was actually a nice change of pace compared to the hissing.

The sky:

‘Q’

‘Am I too much bear bear ear r r r’

The sky, too, did not have an understandable response, but I did hear my echo in the vastness of its everything above. As my words bounced off the sky and spread as far my ears could hear, all throughout the forest, I realized that the degree of my bearness is actually irrelevant compared to just about everything else in the forest. This is why I received few revealing responses. Nobody is worried about me being a bear or how much of a bear I am. Only I am worried about such things. Only I care about my bearness. It is a little sad to realize how small I am even when compared to the daily thoughts and opinions of (physically much smaller) woodland creatures. I suppose my self-important questioning deserved the hisses it mostly received. I want my being a bear to mean something, to be important on some grand forest scale, but it just is not.

It is a relief, too, though. There is no huge role to fulfill or some grand journey to pursue. I am just a bear. There is not much more to the idea than that.

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

I stepped on something crunchy.

bear paw

It is difficult for me to take the time needed to understand everything happening beneath my paws. As I walk through the forest, I surely step on many different living things: bugs, grass, dirt, glass bottles, and tiny sticks. All of these things are smashed and smeared by the tough, rugged skin on the bottom of my paws. Most of the time, I can deal with ignoring the sounds of these unfortunate beings, but sometimes they crawl through my ears and take unforgiving space in my mind.

Recently, I finally stopped to see what I could do about my intrusive paw stomping. As I left my cave, I took one step on the grassy ground and then immediately stopped. I then hurled my nose into the meeting place of my being and the ground. I searched for any living things. I shouted to all possible survivors, asking them to make some kind of sound to indicate that they were okay with my paw being here. I even asked the dirt that was being dug up by my claws how it was doing.

No response.

Not a single sound came from that tiny section of earth. For a moment, I deducted that I had just been overanalyzing everything about this situation. Nothing on the ground minds me being on the ground, too, I told myself.

I went on about my day.

A few paces later, I stopped in my tracks again and realized: the silence of the forest floor might have been caused by me. Of course no creatures made any sounds upon my request, I had been the one who silenced them all.

I ran back to the entrance of my cave and began to search for that first step of the day. As my paws slammed against the ground to make my way back to the origin of my destructive path, I mumbled apologies and begged for forgiveness. I even tried to keep my feet in my old tracks as to minimize the overall damage, an ultimately pointless effort as I ended up breaking several different plants by accident, not to mention the countless bugs and other lifeforms I likely disturbed or destroyed.

When I got to my first paw print, I hurled my nose into the dirt once more. I wanted to know what kind of mark I had left. Was it repairable? Did it leave the natives of that patch of dirt in disarray? Was I a monster? Did I need to spend the rest of my days in my cave, never stepping into the forest again? Could I live in trees instead? Would the trees mind that? Of course they would, they are trees and deserve to be left alone.

I could not find anything beyond the smashed dirt. I definitely killed the dirt in that part of the forest, but killing dirt to get by was something I had accepted a long time ago. I could not see any bugs, plants, or other creatures whom I had destroyed by accident.

I want to live as peaceful of an existence as I can. I know sometimes I will eat some bees or accidentally sit on a bird’s nest that got knocked down from a tree (I am so sorry, bird eggs), but I have to keep trying to ensure that my existence cooperates with everything else that exists in the forest. Everything (except for the deer across the river) deserves to live without being stepped on by something much larger than it. I hope dirt does not mind us all killing it all the time, but maybe that is how dirt lives its own peaceful existence.

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?