Tag Archives: nature

How many suns and moons do we get?


The sun and the moon have a reliable rotation about them. They are seen at a particular time and then they leave at a particular time. Sometimes they are covered by clouds, and every once in awhile the moon does not show up, likely to enjoy a much deserved break, but for the most part, these sky giants are very reliable. The presence of each one is comforting and makes living in the forest easier and warmer.

But sometimes, I wonder if I am assuming too much by thinking I see the same sun every single day. It looks like the same sun, usually. Sometimes it’s slighter more orange than usual or slightly more yellow than usual, but it looks roughly the same. But maybe these little distinctions indicate a new sun. This process goes even further for the moon, who seems to change its shape on a near daily basis. Maybe there are multiple of both of these things. Maybe every time the sun is done with the forest for the day, it goes off to another place, either resting or providing more warmth for a new forest somewhere else, and so another, equally warm sun replaces by the morning.

But if that is so, where do all those suns and moons go? I hope they are okay.

Also, if the sun and the moon can have this happen to them, how could I know whether or not something similar happens to all things in the forest? Maybe every night, as I lay my fuzzy head upon the bed of moss I have collected in my cave, everything I know and adore about the forest switches out, is replaced, by something that looks similar to it. The rock outside of my cave? What if that is not the same rock that I know so well? What if, every day, that rock changes, and I am getting to know a new rock every morning? Perhaps this even applies to other creatures. For every squirrel I see, are there an infinite number of squirrels it has replaced? And are there infinite more squirrels to come and replace it? That is far too many squirrels.

I hope I am not replaced each day. I do not feel replaced. I feel like the same bear I was yesterday, but if the sun can be replaced and the moon can be replaced then certainly I can be replaced, oh no, I hope that is not true?

Then again, this is all hypothetical. I do not know if anything gets replaced. I hope I see the same sun every morning. It feels like the same sun. I feel like the same 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. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

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When does the forest end?


The forest has been around for as long, and maybe even longer, as I can remember. I have always existed in the forest. To my knowledge, there is no other place. Everything I know is in the forest.

I do not know how long the forest has been around, so I wonder if it has always been here. Was there something before the forest? Or maybe the forest has always been here, just in different iterations. I could imagine a great deal of different scenarios about where and how long the forest has been. But, regardless of its past, what the forest was before I was in it would not matter. I would admire, respect, and depend on it in the same manner.

Where it is going, however, is a different story.

I will likely continue to live in the forest for as long as I am a bear, so it is certainly in my best interest to know and understand where the forest is going. What does the forest plan to do in the future? Will it continue being the forest? Will it stop being the forest? Will it invest in a new accessory (like a hat or something)? Will it always be okay with having me, a bear? How will the forest stop being the forest? Is fire involved?

The forest never responds to the questions no matter how loudly I growl them at trees. Should the forest decide to stop being the forest one day, I am not sure what I will do. I depend on the forest in just about every corner of my existence. Maybe there are more, though. I have never really entertained the idea extensively, but what if there is more than just the one forest? Maybe I do not live in the forest, but rather forest. If my forest ceases, perhaps I could go to one of these other possible forests. That poses new dangers and questions, though. Where is it? Is it nice? Does it have snakes? Does it have something worst than snakes (maybe double-snakes, whatever that could be)? What if it stops being a forest, too?

For now, I just have my forest and however long it will continue to be a forest. I suppose dwelling on the absence of something that has always been here is useless since, even if it does go away, what would I even be able 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

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.

How I handled a bee I saw after it saw me: a series of mistakes that led to a strange triumph.


As the air gets warmer and the forest gets greener, it is clear that spring is shaking the forest loose from the harsh, extensive grip that winter sometimes seems to have. It is, generally speaking, a welcome change in my daily forest interactions. The mud from the rain is nice. The air is warm but not wet yet. Trees seem to enjoy it. Flowers certainly do (and you can eat those, which is a bonus).

The forest seems slightly more pleasant in the spring than it does during other times of the year.

Until you see a bee.

I have seen a great many bees in my lifetime, and bees and I generally have an understanding: I will keep sniffing things and ignoring you and you will keep being a bee and ignoring me. It is reasonable to me, and most bees are quite polite about the policy. It is best, for all creatures involved, if we ignore one another.

Today, though, I admit, I failed. I failed to ignore a bee.

I saw the bee.

And then it saw me, its deep, midnight gaze piercing through my very bearness, tearing its way through everything I have ever thought I was. That moment lasted a small eternity, if that is possible. In that moment, I obsessed over the worst possible thing that could happen as a result of this encounter: stinging things. If you have never been stung by a bee, consider your life a lucky, fulfilled one because being stung by a bee might be the worst thing that can happen to anyone who encounters a bee. It is such a devastating, awful event that when a bee stings you, it rids itself from the forest entirely, likely because of the guilt it feels for bringing such terror to another creature’s life.

I did not want to get stung. And I did not want this bee not be a bee anymore (even if it was terrorizing every bit of my sensibilities). I did what any normal creature would do… I yelled at the bee. I was hoping this would scare the bee, but it only yelled back, its harsh buzzing sounds echoing through my fuzzy ears, a shrill reminder of the pain to come after the inevitable stinging.

So… I did what any normal creature would do after yelling at something with no success… I ran at it… In the moment, it felt like the right thing to do. I knew I was much larger than a bee, so I figured it would be terrified of my largeness multiplied by my speed.

It was not.

It hovered above me, as if to mock my grounded paws. It had the high ground (or, air, I suppose) and was surely about to strike. I, again, did what I thought any normal forest creature would do… I closed my eyes and gasped, my mouth sitting wide open just long enough for the bee to fly right into it…

I panicked. I ran. I shook my face violently. And then I spit. The bee hit the ground, covered in my saliva. I felt terrible. What had I done to this poor bee, its only crime being its sight of me?

Its tiny wings fluttered, shook my spit from it, and it unceremoniously took flight. Before I could ask for its forgiveness, it was gone, back in the depths of forest it came from, away from me.

I was shaken by the event. I felt a strange mix of guilt and triumph. I fought a bee, which usually ends with at least one causality, and we both lived to tell the tale. And I think I even won.

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.

It can be hard to learn from the forest.

Everything that happens presents an opportunity to learn something new. When I climbed a tree after a storm, I learned that some branches are not meant to be put through trials of wind and bear weight back-to-back. When squirrels made shrill, mocking sounds at me when the tree branch broke, I learned that not all creatures in the forest have an investment in your well being or the well being of tree branches. And when I realized I had landed on an anthill, I learned that ants are fast and angry and bite so much.

That was all useful information to have, and I did certainly enjoy the process of learning new things in the forest. It feels good to feel enlightened after a good learning. It feels good to be a new, better informed bear than the bear you were just moments ago. It feels good to expand your bearness through forest experiences. It really does.

Until it does not feel good.

Sometimes the forest teaches crucial lessons in challenging, angry ways, and when it does, it does not feel good to learn from the forest. It is awful actually.

A bird shoved its beak into my eye. That had never happened before. I suppose, in a way, I learned that such a scenario was possible, but I do not know if I really needed to learn that such a scenario was possible. Maybe the growth of my bearness was so small that I had a hard time perceiving it, but I did not feel like any more of a bear for knowing the possibility of a bird piercing my eye. My bearness did not feel expanded. The only thing I did feel was a horrible throbbing sensation in my eye, which made it difficult to see for a few days.

Plenty of treacherous things like that happen in the forest everyday. Branches break and land on you. Wind kicks up dirt that blinds you. Humans shout at you. Dumpster lids land on your paws. Fish bite back. In a misguided attempt to intimidate, you get too close to the deer across the river’s antlers and he reacts in a very disrespectful but, honestly, understandable manner. Parts of your insides make a snapping sound and a ripping sound and another sound you are unable to describe but can definitely feel because of the deer’s reaction.

All of those things have lessons to teach. They provide forest wisdom in some way or another. You get to know more about yourself or the place you live in or other creatures. I do not know if any of those lessons are worth experiencing those things, though. It can be hard to see their value. It can be hard to figure out why the forest would even bother letting you experience those things. It can be hard to learn from 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 Facebook.

Bear instructions.

No bear ever sat me down and told me how to be a bear. How to push my paws into mud because it feels nice. How to avoid dipping my nose into the river while lapping up a refreshing drink. Why dipping my nose in water is bad. How to climb trees and not embarrass myself in front of birds (something I am still not great at). How to get into dumpsters. How to communicate with other dumpster dwellers. How to pick out a good stick. How to be a bear.

I had to figure out how to be a bear by myself for the most part. It involved a lot of guess work and mistakes and one time I almost drowned (the nose in the river thing was a hard lesson to learn). I have been considering creating and sharing a set of instructions on how to be a bear. I think it would be nice if other bears, even other creatures interested in being a bear, could have have some guidelines on how to be a bear.

I have no idea what exactly would go into the instructions. Surely the water and nose thing. But what else? What actions and experiences make being a bear? Do I catalog how I walk and eat and think and that time I saw twenty birds yelling at the empty vessel of a flattened raccoon? I am not sure what is most important about being a bear.

And I do not even know if I am the best creature to determine what is most important about being a bear. Surely there are other bears who have important ideas of bearness that differ from mine, and who am I to tell any creature that those views are any worse or better than mine are?

I suppose I cannot determine what the best practices for being a bear are. I can only determine what the best practices for being a me are. And I am 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. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I am just upset because I lost a very good stick today.

missing-stick1

I try to keep my temperament even while I slide my paws around the forest floor. Generally, I am quite good at this. I am resilient, at least outwardly, to the sometimes incredibly harsh ways of the forest and its often times challenging inhabitants.

When squirrels make chuckling sounds I assume are directed at me, do I let out some angry roar as a response? No, of course not. Do I go back to my cave and steep myself into the sadness such chuckling causes me? Sure, but that is on my own time and in my own place. Nobody but me and the mood of my cave are affected by that kind behavior. When the deer across the river looks at me with his disgusting glances and makes ear piercing coughing sounds at me, do I let out an audible challenging response back? Well, sometimes, but that only affects the deer across the river and me. When birds wake me from a deep sleep, interrupting dreams of plastic bags filled with delicious sauces and dumpsters inside of clouds, do I shout at the birds? Of course not (except once and I am very sorry about that slip in character).

I try to stay composed. I really do. I try to stay composed, especially, around others. Today, though, it was not so easy. I was irritable. I was rash. I made growling sounds at a tree I accidentally bumped into, sounds I had never heard myself make. I bit down on log I found. Like really hard. With anger. I do not usually do that, but today was an exception.

Today was difficult.

I lost a stick this morning. This stick was no regular stick, though. It was a wonderful stick. I found it under a tree near my cave, sitting among some other forest debris. It would have gone unnoticed if I had not almost stepped on it. This stick was a perfect length. It had a lovely taste. It smelled like leaves. Good leaves. It fit into my mouth with such ease and without bits of its bark flaking off into the depths of my throat.

I carried it off. I had no idea what to do with it, so I just walked around with it. It felt like I was taking it on a parade throughout the forest, letting every creature who would look know how proud I was of my beautiful stick.

And then I set it down to take a drink of water from the river.

And it was gone. At first, obviously, I blamed the deer across the river, but he was nowhere in sight. I ran around, stomping my paws loudly as I cried out for my stick! Nothing. The stick never called back (as sticks never do). It was gone. Maybe some smart bird took it while I was drinking. Maybe the stick simply found a way to leave me. Maybe the forest floor took it and buried it someplace deep beneath the dirt.

I do not know.

But that is why I was upset today. That was why I growled and seemed angry. Hopefully, it did not disturb anybody too much. Hopefully, that stick is still out there somewhere.

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.

I might look like something else from up there.

attack1-2

Birds.

There are so many of them in the forest. They are all kinds of colors and shapes and have all sorts of different wingspans and attitudes. Some birds sing delightfully beautiful melodies as the sun creeps to its shining perch. Other birds let out soothing coos as the moon’s light bathes the forest and the stars guide the rest of us. There are birds who build impressively sculpted nests to secure their cheerful young and birds who dip their slender beaks with incredible precision into chaotic chunks of mud to end up with a bounty of worms. So many birds are so interesting and delightful and kind and do not attack me.

Some birds, however, are very mean. Some birds (one in particular, it seems) attack me whenever he sees me. Some birds (still this one) have been known to hurl his disastrous claws and beak at and into my ears for no reason other than for what I assume he believes is a good time. Some birds (again, not all, in fact not most, in fact, just the one) take a perfectly good rabbit skeleton I found in a dumpster and probably did not even eat it and instead probably just threw it back into the dumpster maybe, I assume, but I do not know for sure.

Truthfully, there was no reason to bring up birds as an entire group of creatures. It is really just one bird that has troubled me. I try to see things from his perspective. Maybe I look like a worm from up high, which would explain why he gripped into my brow with such fury after a dive so fast I could hear his hideous feathers pierce the air around them. Maybe I deserve all of this bird aggression because of some slight I committed against this bird or another bird or to the forest in general. Maybe there is no rhyme or reason to this bird’s chaos, and I am just an unlucky target of his hate-fueled conquest for joy.

It is hard to convince myself of any of these things because this bird has been after me for so many consecutive unpleasant moments. I do not know what to do. The bird does not listen to reason or offerings of a trash bag I found filled with used napkins.

Maybe this bird just does not like me. Without meeting me or trying to understand me, this bird does not like me, and maybe there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to accept it. I have to accept that some things, this bird included, just do not care for me no matter what.

I do not know how to accept that, though. This is not the first thing to not like me (deer, snakes, etc.), but at least usually that dislike is based around some kind of past event or pretense. This bird does not have those things with me. I do not know this bird. It does not know me. But it has its opinion of me well formed already.

I guess all I can do about that is know it exists.

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.