Tag Archives: thoughts

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

Eat everything you find.

opossum (2)

You must eat everything you find. It is an impulse you must have, an instinct that kicks in whenever anything edible (and most things are edible) is detected by your nose, eyes, or ears. Devour the target sustenance before anyone else can have the chance to take it. It must be consumed as soon as possible, without fail.

For better or worse, this is the relationship you must have with food in the forest. It is not an idea I have always believed. There was a time when I figured that all edible things were for anyone who needed to eat. I did not have any more right to the garbage can I found several cheese encrusted napkins in than any other living and willing creature in the forest. I have, a great many times, shared my findings with raccoons exploring the same dumpsters that I explore (though they usually do not seem to appreciate it). I have even left bits of food behind after I have had my share. There have been many clusters of berries that I have left only half picked so that other forest dwellers can get their fill.

I tried to stop this attitude the day I realized that other forest dwellers did not extend the same courtesy to me. Some time ago, during a cold, windy time of the year, I was having an incredibly difficult time finding food. Many berry bushels were stripped or dead. The river’s fish were gone (I assume because swimming in ice is very difficult). Even the bugs I sometimes snacked on seemed absent, making the forest feel barren and lifeless. I decided to check with the best source of food there is when the forest is having trouble providing: trash cans. There are several garbage cans and dumpsters I frequent. I have to travel quite far to get them, to places where the trees turn into human caves and the dirt turns into massive, flat rocks. Once you have the scent of one of these receptacles, however, they can be easy to find. I checked my regular spots. For some reason, on this particular day, they would not open. I scratched and pawed at every trash can I visited, and it was impossible to get the lid off of each one. Some little metal object was keeping the trash cans tightly shut.

I was frustrated.

When I got to my last trash can, there was a opossum waiting underneath some plastic bags near it. This trash can, like the others, was locked tight. I tried to ask the opossum if it knew of any open trash cans, but my questions were met with wild hissing. As I turned from the trash can to head back to my cave, I heard a creaking sound. I looked back to see what it was, and before my head could turn all the way around, I saw a black, full bag smack the ground followed by a loud slam where the creaking sound had been. I could smell the bag. There was something warm and delicious inside.

I slowly approached it.

The opossum quickly approached it.

The tiny creature ripped through the plastic and buried its pointy face into the bag’s treasures. I was patient. I watched, relying on the generosity of my fellow forest dwellers. Surely this opossum would leave me a shred of what was inside that bag. As I watched, waiting and trying to stop myself from lunging toward the bag, the opossum made a loud, horrible shrieking sound.

More opossums arrived.

I have no idea where they were hiding, but a small herd of pointy faced shriekers bombarded the plastic bag. The plastic was being stretched and clawed through. I could see the cluster of creatures climbing over one another as they chomped down whatever sustenance the bag had for them, their tiny toes and tails wiggling around, making it appear from the outside of the bag as though a million worms were inside.

Despite the grotesque imagery of the opossum feeding frenzy, my appetite did note wane, Naively, I waited still. I told myself that no creature could be so selfish and greedy as to take everything themselves and leave nothing for everyone else.

In an instant, they vanished.

I approached what tattered remains were left of the bag. There was nothing. Not even the slightest morsel of food could be gathered. I was enraged. I howled and growled at nothing. I ran toward where the creaking and slamming had happened, the origin of the plastic bag, and began clawing at the square shaped piece of wood that was there. Splinters caught my paw, and, in confused anger, I began to run around the plastic bag’s remains, still growling and howling, now in pain as much as rage.

The wooden square creaked open again.

A human stared at me.

I ran, frightened and angry. I was ashamed of myself, so I trudged back to my cave and licked some moss I found in a dark corner of my cave. I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed for blaming the wooden square for my troubles (how could it have known opossums were so ravenous and self-centered?). I was ashamed for not helping myself to the plastic bag’s spoils. I was ashamed for assuming all creatures in the forest were invested in my best interests.

That was a very cold, long night.

Since then, I have been weary to let any fraction of the food I find to go untouched. I hunt and gather all nourishment and keep it and hoard it and never let a single soul outside myself know of its deliciousness.

Or, at the very least, I try to convince myself to do so. In practice, I still hold onto my old ways. I still leave behind pieces of food I find for other hungry forest inhabitants. I tell myself I should not. I tell myself that every creature is like those opossums. They will take everything right in front of you, but I am rarely actually able to stick to this philosophy.

I do not think every creature is like those opossums.

My instinct is not to take everything I want.

My instinct is try my best to live in a complex ecosystem that will not always be friendly to me.

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

A cricket slept in my mouth.

cricket

I do not know how I look when I fall asleep. I like to believe that my pristine fur calmly rests against the cool rock floor of my cave while my heavy, slow breathing gently vibrates through the forest’s night air. According to Rob (the squirrel), who has watched me sleep many times for reasons he will not explain to me, my entire body twitches as I rustle around on the ground, tossing and turning throughout the night and making sounds that are somewhere between growls and desperate gasps for air. Regardless as to which one is true, I would think it must be difficult for any creature to find a reliable place for repose near me while I sleep.

Yet one has.

I recently woke up to find something sleeping in my mouth. At first, I was unable to determine what the lumpy, salty mystery in my mouth was. I was tempted to just eat it (as I do with most lumpy, salty mysteries I find in or out of my mouth), but something told me to stay my jaws and wait. After a long morning of an open, dry jaw, I finally felt the tiny intrusion slip from my face. After shutting my mouth to let a torrent of soothing saliva rescue my tongue, I sniffed the ground below me.

What I found was a small cricket.

Perhaps small is not the right way to describe it (I have no idea if this cricket was small by cricket standards, but I do know that all crickets are small compared to me, trees, the sky, and even most mice). It was definitely a cricket, however small or big it might have been. It made a lovely chirping sound at me and then hopped away before I could ask any questions.

I did not put much more thought into the situation for the rest of the day. I was glad I had not accidentally eaten the cricket, but I also found its intrusion to be a tad bit inconvenient and somewhat unsettling.

Night came. I slept.

Day came. I woke up.

The cricket was in my mouth again.

I did not wait all morning to see if it would simply jump out this time. Instead, my tongue was its alarm clock as I pushed the cricket out of my mouth. It seemed startled, it chirped at me, and then it went on its way.

I must have made my point. The cricket never slept in my mouth again. I, at first, felt no remorse for my actions against the cricket. It was okay to sleep in my cave, I told myself, but I found it difficult to abide one sleeping inside my mouth without my explicit permission.

As the thought lingered in my mind, however, I contemplated how I sleep. I have never once asked my cave (and is not audacious for me to claim it my cave?) if I could sleep inside of it. I have napped on top of many things without explicit permission: dumpsters, abandoned campsites, piles of leaves, moss, a family of opossums (only once and by complete accident and nobody was permanently injured), on tree branches, and even under the sky.

I have never asked any of these things if I could have the privilege of using their personal vessels as my personal bed. And many of these things (except for the opossums anyway) tower in size compared to me as I did the cricket. I felt no need to ask something so massive for permission to rest on or under or inside of it, so why would the cricket feel it had to do the same with me?

I began to regret my hasty actions against the cricket, and I even considered how easy it could be for me to experience the cricket’s plight. After all, what could stop the cave in which I sleep from one day choosing to spit me out as I had done to the cricket?

Nothing.

Should the cave do so, I would be forced to leave.

The night of the same day I forced the cricket from my mouth, I went to sleep with my mouth open. Intentionally. I was awake for quite some time, waiting and hoping the cricket would show up and rest where it once must have felt so comfortable.

The cricket never came.

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?

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?

Fuzziness matters.

rubs (2)

Fuzziness is an important aspect of who I am and how I see myself as an individual creature of the forest. My ears are fuzzy. My belly is fuzzy. My neck is fuzzy. Even my paws are fuzzy, which is strange considering they are also leathery and tough. Paws are strange, but we are not here to discuss paws. We are here to discuss fuzziness.

How do I maintain the fuzziness of my fur? This is an important question for any creature who is given the gift of a thick coat of lovely hairs. I cannot speak for all creatures of the forest, but my fuzziness is maintained through a regiment of important daily processes.

Allow me to elaborate.

I spend a great deal of time every single morning rubbing my fur onto something with an interesting texture. Sometimes I seek out the smooth edges of a pebbles to help slick back my fur. Other times I look for something jagged and scratchy like the side of a tree or the side of a rusted dumpster. These rough textures also help alleviate various itches I might feel at the base of my fur. They ruffle my fur, too, making my fuzziness much more messy than usual, but the feeling of the means are worth the awkward looking ends.

I once dragged an old, ragged piece of a carpet I found into my cave. I spent a great deal of time rubbing all of my fur against it. It was one of the best things I had ever found in a dumpster, and I loved every minute I spent with my fur practically glued to its surface. Unfortunately, I eventually had to dispose of that prize after several raccoons ate most of it. I stopped them from completely devouring it, but what was left was hardly enough to maintain my fuzziness.

Water is also important part of fuzziness. Though fur smells incredible after rolling around and basking in many weeks’ worth of forest odors, it is occasionally nice to refresh and revitalize that fur with some clear, cool river water. At first, it seems counterintuitive. When fur is wet, it ceases to have fuzziness. It becomes drenched and loses everything that defines fuzzy. Once the water dries, however, the fuzziness feels crisp, clean, and brand new. I do this process minimally, though. I have a great deal of pride in the collection of smells and debris I collect as I traverse through the forest, and I do not take lightly the idea of trading all of that in just for some wet fur.

Furthermore, this process also means having to see the deer across the river. Oh, how vile that creature is with its ghastly, empty stare. It knows what it did. It will never forget what it did. I will never forget what it did.

I apologize for the digression.

Another great way to maintain fuzziness is to seek out a symbiotic relationship with another creature and/or find a very good friend. For a very long time, no less than three mice (one large one and two tiny ones) resided in a tuft of fur on my back. Their warmth and tiny hands soothed and combed my back fur. I did not let them go uncompensated, too. As often as I could, I would toss small berries or patches of grass onto the tuft by slinging them with my mouth. This beautiful relationship lasted until the tiny mice outgrew the large mouse. They ended up arguing and fighting over the rations of berries and grass. The quarrels became so terrible that their violent squeaks would keep me up at night. I finally evicted them from my body lying on my side and shaking. They quickly scattered into the forest, which was unfortunate because I would have liked to at least formally meet them before they left for good.

I sometimes ask other forest creatures if they would be willing to fill in where the mice left off, but I can find no takers. Those relationships are rare, so if you are lucky enough to find one, make sure you nurture it to the best of your abilities.

Fuzziness matters. It is not simply an issue of aesthetics either. How my fur interacts with my environment says a lot about who I am, and I truly hope all other creatures of the forest take their fuzziness as seriously as I 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?

Do squirrels ever regret things? Probably not.

rob nut

Some say life is full of regret.

Not this bear’s life. My life is full of naps and acorn counting. Surely whatever woodland creature made such a negative utterance has done some terrible things or, at the very least, some things that made him/her feel terrible. While I would never claim to be Saint Bear of the Forest, I do feel that I have lived a good life thus far, and I have no plans on changing that.

It does make me wonder if maybe deep down I am not a good bear at all. Is my lack of regret actually a sign of internal villainy?

Do villains have regret for their villainous actions?

I asked Rob (the squirrel) what he thought, but he merely wrung his hands together and chuckled maniacally. It was a valid answer but not really the one I was looking for.

Rob (the squirrel), who has been known for mild villainy on occasion (mostly to ants and grasshoppers) seemed to be devoid of regret. Did we share the same moral compass? The thought perturbed me. As much as I consider Rob (the squirrel) a good friend, I did not want to be lumped into the same emotional maturity level as he. Surely he felt regret about something.

After some prodding (and light fur licking) Rob (the squirrel) said he regretted many things. He elaborated with the regalement of the time he stole seven sunflower seeds from a mouse family. They were storing them for the winter. Rob (the squirrel) felt so guilty he tried to return the seeds the following day only to discover the mouse family had been ravaged by a hungry Hawk. In the wake of this tragedy, he proceeded to eat the seeds with a clear conscious and never dwelled on the mouse family’s fate again.

I told him I didn’t think that sounded like regret.

Rob (the squirrel) shrugged his little grey shoulders, bit my nose, and scampered up a tree.

Alone, I began to dwell on my past actions. I began to wonder if there was anything I had done for which I wanted forgiveness. Did I require atonement for some past sin?

No. I couldn’t think of anything.

Either I was a sociopath or a saint. Sainthood seemed less likely. There was a third option, however: perhaps I block out every bad thing I do to protect myself from feeling regret and remorse. That was an interesting thought, but I had no memories or evidence to entertain it.

Then, like an acorn being hurled at my head from the top branch of a tree, it hit me: I did have regret that I could recall. At least a little of it.

Last week I found an ant hill ripe for eating. I remember dragging my tongue across their mount, lapping up dozens of little workers with each passing. I stood there for quite some time enjoying the spoils of my discovery.

After I thought I had my fill, I left the ant hill alone and wandered off to take a nap. When I woke up, I was hungry again. I tried to locate what was left of the ant hill, but I could not find it. Perhaps I had licked too much of it. But in reality, I felt like I didn’t eat enough ants. I wished that I had. There: that is regret.

I regret not having eaten more ants.

Suddenly, I felt better. I was comfortable in my own fur again. I had regret. Which was normal.

I wondered if I ate the deer by the river, if I would regret it later.

Probably not. He knows what he did.

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?

 

I probably had a mom.

bear mom

I cannot remember, exactly, what my mom was like. I know she, like me, was a bear. I know she occasionally licked my fur for me. I know she showed me how to climb a tree. I know she smelled like dirt, which is lovely.

I also know, at some point, she was no longer part of my life. I know I was with other bears like me one day and then not with them on another day. What happened between those two bookend memories is a mystery to me. Not knowing what happened in that empty space leads to me doubting everything before as well. How much of what I remember of my mom (which is already limited to vague images and smells and sounds) is made up? How much actually happened?

Is my mom a ghost bear?

I do not know, but it is a better supported idea than anything else I have. If she is (was) a ghost, at least she is something more than just loosely put together, possibly unreal thoughts in my mind.

I have dreams about her sometimes. It is usually the same dream. I am me, but I am a tiny me, perfectly proportioned. A large bear is holding me against her belly fur and saying something very softly to me. I cannot understand it, but I know it makes me feel good and warm and never sad and always hugged. The dream never lasts long, and it is usually alarming to go from it to my dark cave, alone, not being held by a large bear.

Why do my dreams do that, though? I do not understand the reason for reminding me of something that makes me feel like I am missing an important piece of who I am or what being a bear is. If it never happened, then what parts of my past experiences are my dreams stitching together to create those images and sounds and feelings? And if it did happen, why can I not remember it, specifically or in any discernible detail? There is such a noisy blankness that rests in my memories, showing nothing decipherable but reminding me of something that must have mattered.

I cannot be a mother bear, so I do not know the thoughts or considerations that go into bear motherhood. I am certain that raising a cub or two at a time is no easy thing, but is it intentional to eventually leave your cubs without a trace of the warmth or nurturing you once provided? Is it how cubs grow into bears? Is it hard? Is it necessary? It must be necessary. I hope it is necessary.

I do not know if even being able to remember the split from my mom I must have experienced would help me at all. Perhaps I would just have dreams of that instance if I could remember the exact moment. Dreams of whatever loneliness or abandonment I must have felt the moment I ceased being a bear cub. The moment everything probably started being difficult. Those dreams would probably not be as comforting as the ones where I am being held up against belly fur, feeling good and warm and never sad and always hugged.

I remember seeing a group of bears wander the forest once. Two tiny ones being shadowed by a big one, a mother bear. I followed them for awhile (for selfish reasons at first since they probably had food or were going to food).The mother bear cautiously traversed the dense forest, moving branches to help her cubs and acting as an impenetrable shield against potential predators. One of the cubs tripped and rolled down a hill at one point. The mother bear followed, licked the little one’s scruffy fur, and helped push it back up the hill.

They finally reached the river. The mother bear began showing the cubs how to swim and hurl their tiny paws into the water for fish. I was near a tree away from the river when she saw me. She gave me a knowing glance and then quickly ignored me. I left.

I am a bear.

“Boris the Bear’s Circus Adventure Extravaganza of Suffer for Lonely, No” is the latest adventure you can read on helloiamabear.com! Please enjoy!

I took a nap on some ants.

ants (2)

I took a nap on some ants. I did not do so out of malice. In fact, it was never my intention to sleep on ants at all. Sometimes, when spontaneous naps strike you, the number of ideal places to lay your fuzzy head dwindle. A bear (me, for example) must work with what is around them. In this case, what seemed to be comfiest place on the forest floor was an ant hill.

The tiny mound looked soft and inviting. Little did I know, my carelessness would cause a kingdom to fall.

I woke to the sound of hundreds of tiny voices crying out in terror, pining over the destruction of their home. I sat up to survey the damage. It was severe and undeniably horrible.

What had I done?

A few surviving colonists clung to my nose. Some were frantically shouting in my face. A few were biting me. But the pain they inflicted upon my muzzle was nothing compared the remorse that filled my heart.

I begged for their forgiveness, but there was none to be had. The ants could not let this atrocity go unpunished. With tears welling in my eyes, I accepted whatever fate the small insects had planned for me. There was much deliberation over what course of action to take.

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, one of the ants simply said, “You must rebuild, bear. Make right your wrongs.”

I agreed. I told them it was only fair. Reconstruction would begin immediately (after I finished my nap, of course). Tiny cries of protest ringed in my ears. Some more nose biting occurred.

Realizing I would not get to complete the grievous act that led to my punishment in the first place, I set out into the forest to find supplies. I came back with the essentials for any reconstruction

  • Leaves
  • Six sticks
  • Napkins covered in some kind of spicy sauce
  • Three ribs from a rabbit skeleton I had been saving for a special occasion
  • Dirt in an empty aluminum can that I chewed on

I placed the tools on the ground before the displaced ants.

“What’s this?” asked one of them.

Certain these ants had never encountered such items (with the exception of dirt; they seemed to be very familiar with that), I explained what they were.

One of the ants suggested they rebuild the hill themselves. It was a bit insulting. Now, I will be the first to admit I have never built an ant hill, but I suspected their structure could not have been too complex. After all, it looked like a cone dirt pillow. I had made many piles of dirt into lovely pillows for nothing more than my own enjoyment. Surely this would be no different.

I was terribly wrong.

It turned out ants are very competent builders. There was so much beneath the surface I did not understand. After trying to shove the saucy napkins into an opening of the collapsed hill, the ants told me to stop. I had done enough.

I thanked them for the opportunity to try my hand at a new trade. They did not reply kindly. Instead, they demanded I leave behind the leaves, the can full of dirt, and one of the rabbit ribs (for some strange reason).

Feeling slightly accomplished (and slightly beaten down), I trotted back to my cave to resume my nap. As the blanket of sleep began to fall over me, I wondered if other complex things in the world seemed so simple at face value. I am a bear, and inside, I am still a bear (I think). Is Rob (the squirrel) a squirrel on the inside or is his squirrelness simply a facade?  Where does the outer layer of reality stop and why can our core beings be that outer layer? Why did the ants want my aluminum can?

I woke up a few hours later, hungry. As I exited my cave to do some foraging, I stepped on a wasp nest that had fallen from a tree.

Wasps are not as complex as ants or squirrels or bears. They like to sting things. That is about it.

I am a bear.

“Boris the Bear’s Circus Adventure Extravaganza of Suffer for Lonely, No” is the latest adventure you can read on helloiamabear.com! Please enjoy!

 

I saw two mice fighting today.

mouse (2)

I did not know what to do. The two mice were hurling tiny, rage-filled fists at one another, tearing fur from skin, and biting. Their tiny shrieks of pain and anger echoed through the forest. I tried to make a fearsome growl at them to curb the violence, but it did not work. They kept going and going.

I watched.

Upset.

And helpless.

Finally, they stopped. I did not intervene here, either. I wanted each mouse to go its separate way, and I figured any intervention from me would be largely met with more violence in one way or another.

I could not tell if the mice were reconciling or just taking a break. The tension was agonizing.

And then a bird flew down and clenched its powerful talons around one of the mice. The two flew away. The remaining mouse then picked up a small kernel of corn and ran away.

All of that over a kernel of corn?

The violence. The shrieking. The terror.

Over some corn.

I had several questions:

Why not share the corn, mice?

Was losing one of you worth one tiny bit of corn?

Where did you even find corn in the forest?

Why fight so hard for something that is so insignificant?

I walked back to my cave with all of these thoughts swirling in my head. At first, I was quick to cast judgment upon both mice. After all, it was their violent tendencies that got one of them eaten by a bird. Why did they not put more consideration and care into that situation? Surely, two mice would be better at finding more corn than one, right? Is a fellow mouse not worth at least one kernel of corn?

I stuck to this line of thinking for awhile until I considered what I would do in that situation. What if another bear and I had stumbled upon the same rabbit skeleton? Would we share? Would we fight over it? Would we cooperate to find more? I like to believe I would be willing to help a fellow bear, but then again, I have never had to actually do any of this.

I have never had to compete with a bear. I rarely ever even see other bears, let alone violently fight with them over resources.

I have not been tested.

So why was I so quick to dismiss the struggle of the mice? I do not know how frequently mice have to fight one another for corn, but I do know that it has to be considerably more often than I have had to fight anyone for anything.

And mice have more to fight than just other mice, as I saw from the nightmarish claws of the bird who ate one of them. Nothing in the sky has ever tried to pick me up and eat me. I am fairly certain that there is nothing big enough to do something like that to me.

It is difficult to see the forest from eyes that are not bear eyes. I wish I could do so more easily. I wish it were easier to simply know the struggles of other creatures. I would like to know how the opossum I accidentally sat on the other day felt about that incident, though the high pitched shrieks were easy to interpret. I would like to know how others are impacted by my being a bear on a day-day-day basis. I would like to know the dangers wild rabbits face as they hop through logs and burrows. I would like know what fish feel. Even the ones I eat. Especially the ones I eat.

I cannot know these things, however. I am just the bear I am. I will try to understand these things and not be so critical of them from now on. I will also try to understand that being a bear might be easier than being a mouse who needs corn. Being a bear might even be easier than being an almost anything else so far as I have seen.

And I will try to find out where I can find corn in the forest. I would like some corn.

I am a bear.

To read more thoughts from this particular bear, interact with the blue or grey parts of this sentence.Also, be on the look out for a new bear adventure.

It is nice to have things to remember.

sun and moon (2)

I do not completely understand the purpose of remembering things. I know the ability can be useful sometimes. One time I buried a perfectly good rabbit skeleton next to an old, bug filled log. Several weeks later, I found myself wanting a rabbit skeleton to chew on in the middle of the night. I did not have one immediately, so I used a series of images and smells I remembered to go out and fetch the rabbit skeleton I buried by the log. If I had not had those memories, I would have had to find a brand new rabbit skeleton to chew on. Rabbit skeletons are not very easy to find.

However, for every rabbit skeleton my memories retrieve for me, they also do something that is not so useful or pleasant. All too often, I find myself suddenly remembering something terribly embarrassing for absolutely no reason. Even without putting any effort towards retrieving the memory, I will randomly be reminded of something I do not want to think about. I recently stopped lapping up water mid-drinking because remembering the time I accidentally ate a bee and it stung the inside of my cheek made me feel so embarrassed that I was felt stunned.

Why bother being able to remember embarrassing things? I already made the mistake or recovered from the particular instance of lapsed judgment, so why make me relive it? It seems like a cruel thing for memories to do. I suppose memories want you to be reminded so you will not make the same mistake again in the future, but surely there must be a better way to remind me of that than to make me relive my embarrassment and pain in such great detail.

There are other moments when memories fail to do what they are best at, which is reminding you of something. They might only remind you of parts of something important or just minute details that do not add up to a whole, coherent image. Memories will often only deliver moments of your life to your mind in sporadic, nearly nonsensical chunks. Fragments you have to put together as best you can. Pieces that will never quite fit together no matter how desperately you want them to.

I know I have not always been a single, lone bear. I know, at some point in my life, there were other bears with me. Large bears. Bears my size. Bears who licked the top of my head while I rested by the riverside. Bears who stood up on their hind legs with me, hurling their paws at my face in a playful manner. Bears who kept me safe. Kept me company. Kept me warm.

Those memories, the ones of the bears who must have been an important part of my life at some point, are scattered and difficult to recall. Those are the memories I want to recall, though. Those are the thoughts I want to be randomly reminded of while I sip river water. The fragments of those thoughts are so difficult to hold together, though. Sometimes I even doubt they are real. Maybe I made them up myself. I do not know.

I am still grateful that my head lets me have memories, though. Despite how painful or distant some of them might be, there are still many that are an absolute joy to have and cherish. One of my favorites happened late in the afternoon of an otherwise very regular day. The sun, with its lovely warmth and glow, was beginning to rest into the horizon. At the same time, the moon, with its proudly pale light, was beginning to rise from the horizon. For a little while, the two giants, who normally represented completely different feelings and ideas and temperatures for me, shared the sky above the trees. I stared at the scene for as long as it persisted.

Then a tiny a gnat got caught in my eye, a part of that memory that I feel more distinctly and vividly than any other from that moment.

I am a bear.

You can read more bear thoughts by clicking these lovely blue words.