Tag Archives: the forest

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.

A moon bear to replace me while I sleep.


That the sun has such a lovely complement in the sky, a calm partner who takes care of the forest while the sun goes down to rest or plan or whatever else the sun might do when it falls, is something I have always admired. Sun goes down. Moon comes up. Moon goes down. Sun comes up. So on and so forth, in lovely sync. You can even sometimes see them both at the same time. It is one of the few predictable shows of the forest. The sun will go down. The moon will come up (though, once in awhile, it does not, but that is okay, everybody needs a break).

Sometimes I wonder if the sun or the moon even knows about their respective opposites, though. Does the sun know, or even care, that the moon picks up its work during the cool, gloomy nights of the forest? And the moon? Does it realize that we get most of our warmth and light from the sun?  Does it care?

I have a feeling that the two are completely unaware of one another, which makes me wonder about any possible complements I might have that I am unaware of. The idea of some moon bear out there in the forest, doing bear things that I do during the day just so the forest can have some kind of bearness going on even while I rest, is very intriguing to me. I would love to know that bearness similar to mine is being represented in the forest even when I am unable to represent it.

I stayed out late recently to try to find out. I walked about the forest as the surprisingly bright moonlight flooded the forest floor and guided me. It was nice to feel the cool night air, but it was unfortunate to not stumble upon any such moon bear. I found no bears at all. I found no moon-anything at all. The only moon there was was the moon itself. I entertained the idea of maybe all the trees I saw being moon trees because of their overwhelming darker, calmer colors, but then I remembered that was just because they were not bathed in sunlight.

I went back to my cave. I slept. I woke up wondering if I had just missed the moon bear. Maybe it was looking for me, the probably sun bear, at the same time I was looking for it. Maybe it was taking its rare break from its duties like the regular moon does ever so often. Maybe the moon bear exists and we are not meant to meet. Maybe it is possible to see us at the same time, at the right place, at the right angle, but we can never see one another. We just chase each other instead, never actually meeting.

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.

Things usually do not match what is in my mind.


I cannot see everything in the forest all the time. I have tried, but I am pretty much limited to just my field of vision, which is actually quite narrow when compared to the scope of the forest. Since I am limited in such a way, I usually rely on my thinking to conjure up images of things in the forest that are not near me. So, for example, I think about grasshoppers despite not really seeing grasshoppers very often. In my mind, they are green and a little brown and have strange, crooked legs and huge, shiny eyes. Usually, my mind accurately presents grasshoppers and their proportions and looks. When I see a grasshopper in the forest, it matches the grasshopper in mind.

That is a nice feeling. When my thinking is in line with the forest, everything is easier. It does not always work like that, though. Sometimes, my mind is horribly inaccurate when it comes to things in the forest, especially the feelings and difficult-to-describe moments in the forest.

I know how I feel in my mind when I think about the unpleasantness of the mocking sounds birds make when I slip in mud. I know that it makes me feel horrible and that their shrieking cries of contempt for me pierces the very bottom of my consciousness. It sits with me for days, and I can focus on very little else for quite some time. When I reimagine such an incident in my mind, it is the greatest tragedy to ever happen in the forest. It is the worst thing to ever happen to me. It is unbearable and horrible and I would never wish for it to happen again to me or any other creature.

It does happen again, though. It happens frequently, actually. In the moment, though, during the actual experience, it is not so tragic. It is still unpleasant, for sure. But it is not the end of the forest or the end of me. It is tolerable. Sure, the shrieking mocking that comes from the birds who witness it is no fun to endure, but in the moment, it is not so bad. I can live within that moment just fine. The strange thing, however, is that when I process that moment outside of itself, in my mind, isolated from the moment physically, I again think it is far worse than it really was.

And the cycle continues.

It works the other way around. Often great things that I adore in the forest let me down when I finally reach them. Berries are remembered with such intense fondness, but in reality, they are prickly and sometimes very sour. I still eat and enjoy them, but they do not live up to the status I have crafted in my mind.

Very few things ever do. So many things are exaggerated outside of themselves, and it is so incredibly difficult to truly realize that fact outside of my mind and reflective thinking. The real moment of experience is so often surprising, for better and for worse.

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.

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.