Tag Archives: trees

Not all birds are nice.


Not all birds are nice. I am sorry if this is a controversial statement, but after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that not every avian creature has my best interest at heart. In fact, some birds are downright malicious toward me for reasons I have not yet discovered.

The first bit of evidence to support my claim presented itself quite awhile ago. I was sitting under a tree branch outside my cave, enjoying the cool shade and thinking about things I like to think about when I hide from the sun’s heat (being a bear, the migration of squirrels, do squirrels migrate?, wait, what is migration?), when a hawk (at least, I think it was a hawk) swooped down and thrusted its sharp feet at my face.

Why did the bird (I am pretty sure it was a hawk) do this? Had I insulted it? Was there food beneath me and the bird wanted me to move? Was the hawk disappointed with my lack of knowledge regarding squirrel migration? Can birds read my thoughts?

There was no way for me to know. The hawk fled away as quickly as it had swooped in. At the time, I wrote the encounter off as a misunderstanding. Perhaps birds spend so much time in the air, they forget how things that live on the ground (me) do not enjoy being swooped upon.

But a similar encounter happened just last night. Another bird (probably a hawk again) swooped down into my cave as I slept and spent the night screeching at me. I had not invited the hawk in nor had I asked for some sort of horrible wake-up call. The hawk had simply taken it upon itself to come into my home and yell at me until I left my own cave. At first I thought maybe there was some sort of ownership dispute regarding my cave, but I then remembered that birds (especially hawks) do not live in caves. Also, it was definitely my cave, I am sure of that.

I stormed back into MY cave and demanded that the hawk leave. After some more screeching, clawing and flapping, the hawk fled.

I did not sleep the rest of the night. The whole incident was just too unpleasant. Instead, I decided to lay in the mouth of my cave, eat the eggs I keep finding in the tree by my cave, and watch for more malicious, unprovoked avian attackers.

I am sorry for whatever I did (if anything at all). I just wish all birds were nice, but so many of them do not seem to be.

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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Bread dread.


During a rather exhausting yet fruitful dumpster excavation I discovered not one, but two, discarded loaves of stale bread that I had never come across before. Eager to taste my findings, I raced back to my cave with both loaves, still in their plastic sleeves, dangling from my mouth. Their stale ends bounced off one another like bells as I trotted through the forest. The crinkly sound their bouncing produced made me quite happy. I would have smiled if I were not so fearful to lose my bounty.

Once in my cave, I placed each loaf at separate sides of the flat rock surface I sleep on.  I sat between the loaves and sniffed each one, trying to decide which to try first. The loaf to my left smelled of seeds and mold. The loaf to my right smelled of pumpkin and dumpster juice. Both were so enticing. Both were wonderful candidates for consumption.

I was torn.

Which loaf deserved to be eaten first?

What if the first loaf I tried was so delicious that no other loaf could compare? Perhaps the second loaf would be disappointing. What if neither were tasty? Or worse yet, what if both were equally enjoyable leaving me satisfied for a short time but yearning for either to have once again?

A torrent of dreadful thoughts filled my head. There could be no way of knowing how to proceed. The lack of conviction I felt made my heart sink.

These loaves. These two potentially wonderful (or disgusting) loaves of bread haunted the very nature of my being.

I needed to properly ponder my dilemma. A nap was in order.

I sprawled out on my back between the loaves and tried my best to drift off to sleep, but the loaves would not let me rest. I knew they were there, waiting. They were waiting for me to decide.

I rolled over on my left side. The exotic aroma of moisture and seeds from plants I had never encountered filled my nostrils. My mouth watered. I reached for the loaf but stopped paw inches from the loaf. I wanted to tear open its wrapping and clamp my maw around its crust.

No. Not yet. I was not ready.

I flipped to my right side. The other loaf’s intoxicating smell tormented me no less. The familiar scent of pumpkins and sickly sweet liquid found in all fine trash receptacles beckoned me. It took every ounce of strength not to abscond with the second loaf and eat it behind the acorn tree near my cave, away from the prying eyes (seeds?) of the first loaf.

These dueling breads played their cruel game for far too long. There was no rest to be had.

I had to make a choice.

I told the breads I was going out for some fresh air. I asked if either loaf needed anything.

Neither responded, but they seemed content.

I wandered out into the forest and came to a sunny clearing. The foliage swayed gently in the breeze. Other woodland creatures chirped and croaked and tweeted around me. The world seemed at peace. I wish I could have been part of that world in that moment.

A robin landed on the ground beside me. It bobbed its tiny head up and down, hunting and pecking for morsels of food. It would snap up something in its beak and immediately drop it if the findings were unsatisfactory. There was a utilitarian rhythm to robin’s method that made me envious. After several rejections, the robin found a rotten berry and swallowed it down. But the tiny bird was far from satisfied. It snapped up a blade of grass and gulped it down without reservation. Next it ate a dried up worm followed by the meat of a cracked acorn. The robin did not discriminate as harshly as I had believed. If there was something the bird found pleasing to its palette (do birds have tongues?), that morsel would be swiftly eaten.

I realized I was being foolish. As a bear, I consider most things a food source. Just because the loaves back at my cave were new to me, didn’t make them anything necessarily special. They were food, plain and simple.

My choice had been made: I would eat both loaves. Perhaps even at the same time.

I thanked the robin and headed back to my cave.

When I arrived, both loaves were gone, most likely spirited away by some invasive forest creature (probably a raccoon and/or six muskrats). I was silly to think they would be safe unattended. They were too delicious for this world.

I was breadless. I had let them slip through my paws. But perhaps, I didn’t deserve such wonderful bread.

I ate some sticks instead. They were good. Just not bread good.

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.

 

Many things go.

In the forest, I am just one, single thing going among many other going things. My going is mostly me walking throughout the forest, brushing up against trees and occasionally swimming in the river, usually looking for food. I know my going.

I do not know the going of others, though, and it makes living in the forest a little intimidating. So many things go. Wind goes around the forest, carrying leaves and debris with it, making those things go as well. Squirrels go to and from wherever it is squirrels go (maybe everywhere given how quickly they go). The water in the river goes, too. I do not know where it goes, but I know it goes. Even trees go in their own way. They sway and drop leaves and twigs and go through time, too, and it is easy to feel yourself go through time when you rest motionlessly in a single spot for an extended period of time (I know from my experiences trying to mimic trees with little success (how do they do it so well?)).

All the going is overwhelming. I know I contribute to it, but that does not make thinking about it any less daunting. Rarely does the going of something else really hinder my own going, but the mere thought of a going collision is scary. It makes everything in the forest feel fast and fragile, a strange  delicate balance that could tip over and ruin all going for everyone in an instant.

I usually try not to think about it. I usually try to just mind my own going and hope everything else in the forest does the same, but the thought usually creeps into my mind as I go about my going, and forces me to think of what could happen if goings collided. If goings were interrupted. If goings were stopped.

When it gets too bad, I stop going. I shutdown my forward bearness both physically and mentally and I try to stop going. I try to just be a bear, a non-going bear. It is my way of trying to be the me I am where I am. It is not always easy.

But it can lead to naps.

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.

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.