Tag Archives: the forest

How much of my bearness is up to me?

Bearness is a continuous and changing idea for me. I know the bear I was many moons ago is not the bear I am now, and I know I will likely be a different bear some time from now. I do, however, feel like a great deal of my bearness, and essentially who and what I am as a bear, is within my control. My choices, my reactions, my thoughts. These are, usually, things I can control, and they all play a large role in my bearness.

I do not know how much of my bearness is outside of my control, though. There are things about the forest and, to some extent, about my being a bear that I have no say in. These things also develop my bearness, but I am not sure to what extent. I do not know how many things get a say in my bearness, and I do not know to what degree these unknown things have on my bearness.

Some, of course, I have an idea of what they are and, to some extent, how they affect me. Take the forest, for example. I know there a lots of things in the forest that can affect my bearness and how it changes. Just recently, a very nice stick fell out of a tree and landed before my paws. I spent a great deal of that day admiring the stick and chewing on it. These actions affected my bearness (in a positive way, I believe). I now have this stick experience to inform how I look at sticks and trees, and that perception goes into who I am as a bear, my bearness, even if it has a very small effect. I had no control over that stick finding its way to me, and though I did have control over how I reacted to it, the little thing I did not have control over led me down several interactions I did control. These things informed my bearness, too, and, to some degree, that it happened was outside of my control.

Then there are things that contribute to my bearness that I should be able to control but I sometimes I cannot. My bear thoughts, despite my efforts, can sometimes wander into places I did not intend for them to wander into. Even though I guide their general path, I know have a tendency to go where they please, and in doing so another thing outside of my control informs my bearness.

When I think of squirrels jumping onto my nose and biting my eyes, I do not want to have those thoughts. But they make their way to my bear thoughts, and that has some tiny effect on my bearness in some way. I try not to have these sorts of thoughts, but they happen with little to no say from me.

These little examples represent a much larger group of little uncontrollable things around the forest that inform my bearness, and, when they all add up, certainly they have an impact. So how much of my me, my bearness, is something I made and how much is not up to me?

Maybe it does not matter.

Maybe being a bear is an, at times, upsetting and, at other times, wonderful mix of so many things that will happen as long as I am a bear. My bearness is always going to change and grow and become some new version of itself, and maybe another part of that bearness is accepting that some parts of bearness are outside of my bearness’s control.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

I am always at least a little scared.

It is true. I am always at least a little scared.

Many things frighten me for many reasons. There are far too many to list now and here, but here are a few key scary things that are particularly scary:

  • Shouting
  • Yelling
  • Screaming
  • Being shouted/screamed/yelled at
  • Misplaced rocks

There are many more, of course, and I tend to focus on these scary things often. They constantly plague my bear brain as I wander throughout the forest. Most of my interactions and decisions are even rooted in these scary things, despite the fact that these scary things are not interested in my every interaction and decision.

So why do I do this? Why do I let very reasonably scary things take such control over me and my life in the forest? I earn nothing in return. The scary things keep being scary even if I try my hardest to avoid them. To some extent, their scariness has an even extra scary element to it because of the control I allow these scary things to have. To add to the list of scary things:

  • Letting scary things control you

I am not certain as to how I can change this dynamic. I know it needs to be changed, though. Letting scary things get the best of me serves nothing, not even the scary things themselves. I wish it were as easy as simply ignoring the scary things, but I do not believe it is. Often, it is very difficult to convince my bear brain to not think of a scary thing. Even though I do control my bear brain thoughts and ideas, they do tend to stray and when they do, they tend to stray toward scary things.

How can you conquer something that can seem to have such control over you?

I suppose, however, scary things do not have direct and endless control over the interactions and decisions I make, despite those interactions and decisions being rooted in my avoidance in scary things. Perhaps this is where I need to make a change or at least try to make a change. The scary things are always there. They are always in the forest, and they are always in my bear brain. However, despite their scariness and their influence, scary things cannot make me do anything. It is a difficult path to navigate, but if I do not try, the scary things win something they do not even seem to want to win.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

My fur and its various states of softness.

I have expressed quite a lot about my fur throughout my duration of having fur. I have also wondered how others are affected by fur, including whether or not they are simply aware of it and its various states of softness. I have not, however, truly detailed the various states of softness of my fur and the many complex states of being my fur can exhibit and experience. I want to do so now, so…

When my fur has been covered in water:

When my fur has been covered in water, it takes on a unique style of softness. It becomes sleek and shiny. It becomes easy to manipulate and shape. Rain or river water makes my fur a wonderful customizable ballet of individual hairs binding together. This variant of softness does not last too long without water, but it is quite enjoyable while it is around.

My fur right after a nap:

This style of softness is bit rougher compared to other styles. After a good nap, my fur gets bundled in little tufts. These tufts are not as soft as other variants of fur softness, but they are still generally soft compared to things like pinecones and the teeth of the mice who sometimes live in these tufts.

My fur after a long slumber:

See: fur right after a nap (just more).

General softness:

Without external conditions or variables affecting my fur’s softness, my fur is… just soft. It is wavy and easy to comb through with a claw or paw. It shines brilliantly and requires minimal maintenance or regard. This is the ideal fur variant. It is simple and wonderful.

Softness post tree:

I have been known to rub my fur onto trees. There are many reasons to do this. Sometimes it is an itch. Sometimes I want to know the tree better through its bark. Sometimes I do it without really understanding or questioning why. Regardless of why it happens, I know that after rubbing my fur on a tree, the softness of my fur changes. The individual hairs that make up my fur seem to split apart, losing whatever cohesion or unity they once had. It was not until I rubbed my belly on a tree that I ever really realized this happens (I cannot see most of my back fur). However, it is interesting to see individual hairs that make up my fur stand on their own. It makes me appreciate the individual things that make up the bigger things of the forest (trees: forest; ants: anthill; droplets: river; seven mice and an angry raccoon: dumpster).

My fur is in a constant flux of various softnesses. I enjoy every type of softness there is. I like my fur, but I like the possibilities of my fur even more.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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 few more human questions with a few more bear answers

Hello, I am a bear. I like to answer questions about being a bear sometimes. Thank you for reading, and I hope you learn more about bears, the forest, and other topics. (Also, if you wish to see them, I have answered other questions in the past).


Q:

A:

I would like to wear a hat that compliments my ears and/or nose in some way. I once wore a bird as a hat and it did not go well. The bird was not complimentary in any way… unless cawing loudly and pecking my face is how birds give compliments.


Q:

A:

Thank you. It is nice to be loved. Or even liked. Or even not eaten on a regular basis, which is something I feel like we should appreciate more. Also, I love you, too. I am a bear.


Q:

A:

Because I am a bear?


Q:

A:

This is truly difficult to answer. Both furriness and fluffiness have their benefits and very few drawbacks. At the end of the day, I would have to say that being furry is slightly better than being fluffy, though. Fur keeps you warm when it is cold outside. Fluff, while aesthetically pleasing, makes it difficult to fit in certain unwatched garbage cans.


Q:

A:

No.


Q:

A:

One of two things is happening here: either these bears are engaging in an ancient ritual that will awaken a slumbering terror that has not roamed the forest in a millennia OR they are having a birthday party. Either is plausible. Both involve dumpster bread and dancing.


A:

Sometime clouds get very upset and water falls from the sky. I wish I understood more about this phenomenon, but I can tell you that rain is wet. It can be warm or cold. It turns dirt into mud, which is very nice on hot days. It also makes everything soggy, which is good and bad depending on what gets soggy (fur: bad, dirt: good [see: mud]).


Q:

A:

I cannot speak for all bears, but I often dream about the following:

  • Trees
  • Squirrels
  • The sky
  • Falling
  • Falling from the sky
  • Oh, no, why am I falling?
  • Embarrassing moments
  • Marshmallows
  • Naps
  • The slow-creeping existential dread that haunts my mind and leaves me breathless when I wake up screaming
  • Sticks
  • I do not like falling
  • Rocks

Q:

A:

Yes. Yes. But I still like them.


Q:

A:

Rabbit skeletons appear to be all the same until you really start to dig into the details of each one. Of course, that is part of the fun of collecting them. Also, you can chew on them, which is very nice.


Q:

A:

In regard to -ness: I do not think anyone can define your -ness other than you. If somebody tries to define your -ness, it is no longer your -ness as it becomes their -ness, which is a completely different -ness that is not you.

In regard to chipness: Most chips I find are covered in some kind of dumpster sauce, so they are never crunchy. They always taste good, though.


Q:

A:

The forest is indifferent no matter how much you want it to not be. Sometimes that is good. Sometimes that is bad.


Q:

A:

Bread. Bread is amazing and soft but also crunchy? I do not know how bread does it, but it does. It is very hard to find, and when I do find it, it is usually being eaten by rats or birds, but when I can get a single piece of bread for me and just me, it is an absolutely wonderful moment. I love bread.


Q:

A:

I think you can obtain an any kind of -ness no matter who or what you are as any -ness is who or what you are if that makes sense. I do not know. I am a bear.


Q:

A:

I do not know what that is, but when I do not want something to fall, I do not do the following:

  • Leave it near an unsteady edge
  • Drop it
  • Let it down

Q:

A:

I do not know because I have never been an anything else, but when I see how hard ants work on a daily basis, I begin to think being a bear is probably easier than being an ant.


Q:

A:

This is very confusing but also fuzzy, which is good.


Q:

A:

He knows what he did, and I do not think there is any need to discuss the matter beyond that. He knows.


Q:

A:

It is very nice. It is fuzzy and soft and wavy and makes me feel confident and nice. It also contributes to the magnificence of my ears.


Q:

A:

Yes, but only in pieces, and it hurts.


Q:

A:

There is no one way to be a bear or to be or have or obtain a -ness of any kind. Developing that -ness is a personal journey that is long and difficult and confusing and has sidetracks and naps, but it is an important journey because it is who you are.


Q:

A:

  • The ones with prickly leaves
  • The dumpster ones
  • The other dumpster ones
  • The ones with lots of dirt
  • The purple ones

Q:

A:

Yes, thank you for asking.


Q:

A:

At least one (me, I am a bear).


Q:

A:

Probably the easiest way to be a bear is to be a bear, but you can also pretend to be a bear by pretending to be a bear. Anybody can do it.


Q:

A:

I live in the forest.


Q:

A:

I do not know if I am qualified to answer that question, but I do know the things you do for love are going to come back to you one by one.


Q:

A:

I do not have a hat, but if I did and a rabbit stole it, I would not do much because rabbits are very fast and small and can hide, so I would probably try to rationalize me losing my hat to the rabbit by telling myself that the rabbit needed the hat more than I did, but I would secretly be very upset about losing my hat.


Q:

A:

Not particularly. I do know sticks come in a variety of shapes, but I cannot qualify them. I am a bear.


Thank you for reading this Q&A. I hope you got to know more about me, being a bear, the forest, and other things. If you asked me a question but I did not answer it, I am sorry and I will try harder next time.

Thank you.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

Letting others get to know me.

I try to collect the stories and experiences of others in the forest, but I almost always fail. No matter how much I ask others in the forest (trees, rocks, raccoons, the sky, the moon, squirrels, not deer), my questioning is practically always met with nothing resembling explained experiences or stories of life in the forest. I might get the occasional hiss or screech, but those stories are hard to comprehend, difficult to put together.

My constant failure has led to me feeling like I cannot truly understand any other creature in the forest. Of course, they do not owe me their forest stories, but not knowing any other creature’s story makes me feel all the more isolated when I consider my own story. I then had a thought: why not share me own story? If other forest creatures are unable or unwilling to share their stories, maybe they would like to know mine instead?

It was something I had certainly tried in the past, but I had never really put a whole lot of energy into it. I have told my tales to trees and rocks and other things that would listen, but never with intent and cohesion. Past trials of sharing my stories were much more informal, almost as though I had been speaking to myself. I wanted to try something new, though.

I decided that I would share important life events with my fellow forest creatures. They would be structured and short, easily consumable by a listening party. Once I had my stories straight, I would go about the forest and share them with whoever would listen.

I decided these three stories about my life in the forest would be best to share given their brevity and importance to me:

  • The time a squirrel bit my ear and I thought it was a bug until I saw the squirrel and realized it was a squirrel
  • The time I tripped over a stick and landed on another stick that broke
  • The time I tried to eat my shadow

These stories were good and brief. I walked around the forest, reciting them as I had prepared them, hoping some forest creature would hear it and be interested. Hoping my story could heard. After a long time with absolutely no recognizable feedback other than one bird staring at me rudely, I realized there was a possibility that I was not the only one doing this. What if every bird song was a story about being a bird? What if every howl I heard at night was a scary story from some scary creature? What if every snapping twig was that twig’s story?

What if I just could not understand the stories every creature was telling?

And what if my stories were drowned out among all those other stories?

It was a strange breakdown of communication. I did not know how to understand my fellow forest creature, and they did not seem to know how to understand me. For now, I suppose I will keep listening. Maybe I will start to those stories together. And once I do, maybe I can figure out how to share my own.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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 new day for everyone in the forest no matter what forever.

The forest keeps going.

No matter how much anybody (me, trees, the sun, grass, angry hawks, scheming squirrels, forceful ants) tries to halt the forest, it keeps going.

It is quite daunting to consider. The forest will keep moving even when you need a break. Even if the last thing you want is for the forest to continue its neverending, unceasing, cyclical grind, the forest will not mind you. It will persist with or without you.

With the forest’s attitude toward pushing onward and upward indefinitely, it is very easy to feel left behind or even swept aside by the forest. I often look at where I am and where I have been and ask myself why I feel lost or disconnected from everything in the forest. What have I done wrong? What have I missed? Why does everything press on without me? Does the forest not like bears? Does it reject bearness? Do I have a smell about me the forest does not enjoy?

The good thing is that these feelings are overshadowed by the massive possibilities that come with the neverending forest. Yes, the forest moves on no matter what, but so can you, or any other creature in the forest. Even when you feel completely removed from the forest’s ongoing trajectory of chaos, it is surprisingly easy and simple to rejoin or, at least, go forward in your own manner (for me this means progressing my bearness, however I might interpret that). The forest’s seemingly apathetic view toward your own pursuits can be played to your benefit. Just as the forest does not seem to care enough to wait for you when you are down, it also does not seem to mind when you rejoin and get back on your path. It is actually quite easy join the forest’s ongoing goingness, regardless oh how long you have been unable to do your own goingness.

I hope, like the forest, I can keep going. I hope it leads to me understanding my bearness and the -ness of those around me. And then I hope I get to keep going.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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 hope nothing scared you today (or other days).

Being scared is a constant experience in the forest. There so many scary things. Sudden loud sounds. Violent insects. Squirrels (in general). Accidentally breaking things. The possibility of squirrels organizing and planning things. Fish eyes (very scary).

Sometimes, it feels as though there is no escape from all the awful scary things in the forest. Even when I am alone in my cave, resting or napping or sleeping, I can experience being scared. Sometimes my mind wanders to scary places without my permission, bringing terrifying ideas and images to me that I did not ask for. So even within my bear mind, outside of the context of the forest, scariness is right there, waiting to make me feel upset and uncomfortable and unstable.

It is difficult, and it is something I hope you have not had to experience, at least not today. You being a creature of the wherever you are from (I assume the forest, just a different part of it) surely have experiences with being scared. I am certain that you have faced scary things. I am certain that you have even overcome and fought off scary things. Maybe you have even been a scary thing to some other creature (I know this can happen by accident quite easily (sorry, opossum I sat on in the dumpster)).

But should you find yourself scared, I do hope you know a few important things about the feeling. It is, for example, quite temporary. No matter what strange forest thing is haunting your mind or body, being scared will eventually go away. It is a short lasting feeling that you will most certainly defeat and move away from with time.

And of course, it is important to know that you are never the only one who is scared. Most things are always scared a lot of the time, and things that do not seem scared are just very good at hiding it (even rocks probably get scared (maybe (I have not tested this theory)). And even knowing that you are not alone should help conquer your being scared.

I hope nothing scared you today or any other day, but if you did get scared, it is okay. I promise.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.

The magical fox who was not a fox but was actually plastic.

I recently spent quite a bit of time discussing many important topics with a very magical looking fox. I found the fox near a human cave, sitting on the human’s trimmed grass (why do humans trim grass when it is so neat and perfect as it is?) and staring off into space. The fox had what looked like some kind of fancy hat resting on its fuzzy head. Its whole body sparkled in the air, drawing my attention. It lit up its immediate space. It was magical.

I approached the fox cautiously. Most foxes run when they are approached no matter how cautious or friendly you might try to be toward them, but this fox was firmly staying where it was. I took that as a cue to continue approaching the fox. When I got face-to-face with the creature, I was mesmerized by how inviting it seemed. It stared at me as I stared back, emitting an aura of pleasantness that made me feel comfortable and fulfilled.

So I shared with the magical fox. I shared my concerns about being a bear and how bearness is part of the forest and how the forest is part of bearness. I confessed how I was afraid of the plans of squirrels and how belittled I felt when I saw the deer across the river. I explained to this magical little fox that I sometimes felt like one tiny, insignificant piece of the complex organism that was the forest, and that my piece of that organism was not entirely needed and even, at times, unwanted.

Eventually, I felt like I was doing too much of the sharing, so I asked the magical fox to share. The fox stared at me some more as I eagerly waited for its perspective of the forest.

But it never came.

The fox never shared.

I did not want to intrude this magical creature’s personal space, but I did not know what to do, so I pushed my nose against the fox’s nose. And it stung me! It was sharp and strangely pointy and not fuzzy at all. Further investigation led me to realize this magical fox was not a fox it all. It was a magical chunk of plastic and sharp things. Once I realized this, I did what I do with just about all plastic things I find: I chewed on it. It tasted very sharp. And it hurt. And it shocked me.

I placed far too much trust into the magical fox who was actually a piece of sharp, shocking plastic. I am happy I did, though. Even if nothing heard my woes and thoughts and feelings, it felt good sharing 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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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 do not have the confidence of a bird, but I like to sing.

Self-expression can be difficult. It is always risky to share something with anyone for a variety of reasons. Some things offer no feedback in response (rocks, trees, dirt) while others simply seem unwilling to listen (anxious squirrels, the raccoon I accidentally sat on, essentially all ants). Then there are the creatures who make me feel embarrassed to share. Birds, for example, do so many things so well and with such ease, making it challenging to share things in front of or around them. They fly with determination. They sit atop trees with grace. They never seem to fall. They, most importantly, sing. They sing so beautifully.

I, too, like to sing. I like to sing maybe as often as birds do, but I do not feel the confidence they must feel to sing so freely and so openly. When I sing, I am usually alone, sometimes among trees and rocks (again, they say nothing back so it is easier, though still difficult, to sing in front of them). I let out tiny growls and tiny howls and such and, I must admit, try to mimic what I have heard from birds. They do sing so well, and I do desire to sound like them. I know I do not. I know that my bear songs are probably not nearly as sweet and calming as most bird sounds seem, but that does not stop me.

Once, a bird caught me singing. I thought my only audience was a few rocks sitting outside of my cave, but after belting out a few growls, I looked up to see a very red bird staring at me. I was unable to tell what the bird thought of my song. I stared back, waiting for a review or, even better, advice. It never came. We stared at each other for awhile longer and then I let go and channeled my bird confidence and sang some more. The very red bird kept staring and when I stopped, it looked elsewhere and then finally flew off.

It felt nice to have a real audience, as stoic as it seemed. It made me feel like maybe I could do what birds do with the same kind of confidence. Maybe I do not sing as well as any bird, but I am sure I could at least feel as good about my singing as every bird must.

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? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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 do not know where to go.

It is easy to get lost. Of course, there is the normal getting lost way of getting lost. The kind that involves losing track of which trees I have smelled before and which rocks are the exact lumpy ones I usually use to find my cave. This kind of getting lost happens frequently, and when it does I usually stare off into the distance of trees and leaves that make up the forest background, and I wonder where to go. This kind of getting lost is easier to handle than other kinds of getting lost. As I wonder where to go, I raise my snout into the air, get a good whiff of something interesting, and then I am no longer lost. I am then pursuing something new, something interesting.

Sometimes I get to that feeling lost moment, the one where I am staring out into the forest, and I actually know where I am, I am not physically lost, but I am still not sure where to go or why I would go there. In those moments, I just stare and wonder where I should go, but no smell nor sight nor sound will budge me. I do not wonder where to go. I simply do not know where to go, and even when I think of somewhere to go, I convince myself that there is no real reason to go there. In those moments, I do not know where to go even though I know exactly where I am and where I normally go.

Those moments make me feel very stuck. More stuck than anything has ever made me feel stuck. I once put my head through a broken fence to reach the bottom of a dumpster leaking what looked like a very wonderful sauce, and when I tried to retrieve my head, the fence held onto it and refused to let go, and that level of being stuck is still nowhere near how stuck I feel when I do not know where to go.

It feels everlasting, and it feels very bleak and empty and hopeless. I recover from it eventually, of course. I get my thoughts back in my head and I remember where I need to go, in some capacity, but in the moment of not knowing, I am quite scared.

Maybe it is about purpose? Maybe in those moments I need to remember why I am a bear, all the reasons I might have for continuing to be a bear. Of course, that presents a whole different set of problems that I have never been able to overcome.

Maybe it is about that interesting smell? Maybe in those moments I should ignore the blankness  and hopelessness and just go toward that interesting smell, even if it is not really there. At least then, I have an idea of where to go.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? The newest adventure is all about safety!

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.