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.
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.
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@