Tag Archives: trees

I cannot but help to stay in the forest.

The forest is not always an easy place to live in. For every soft, lovely clump of moss there is among the trees, there is some agonizing terror that creeps into your brain or body and tries to remove you from the forest, whether physically or mentally.

As I continue existing in the forest, it feels as though these terrorizing things affect me more frequently and to a greater extent. Because of them, I often find myself overwhelmed and unwelcomed by the forest, like I am some parasite it is trying to destroy. When the wind blows a sharp stick into my nose, how could I not feel like the forest does not want or need me? When every squirrel I see gives me a mocking glare as it hurls menacing chuckling sounds at me, how can I continue to think the forest is not trying to get rid of me? When even my own cave floods with water, ruining my collection of rabbit skeletons and interesting soft things, is it even possible for me to assume that I am wanted among the trees?

I have convinced myself, time and time again, that the forest is no place for me, a bear. I have even cautiously approached the idea of finding a new home, if a place outside of the forest even exists. I have never ventured far enough to know if one does exist, however. Something always keeps me here, keeps me among the trees.

It is the soft, lovely clump of moss that keeps me. Not that single thing in particular, of course, but things similar in disposition. The interesting things. The lovely things. The kind things. How there is always fresh water in the river. The amazing manner in which ants create their homes. The surprising passivity of spiders. The moments absent of deer. The flowers. The trees. The soft dirt. The taste of rabbit skeletons.

There are so many good things in the forest.

Also, there is me. As much as the forest sometimes seems like it wants to chew on me and eat me and then regurgitate me out of itself, I am, ultimately and truly, part of the forest. And the forest is part of me, part of who I am and how I understand everything, including my own bearness.

So for now, I will keep being the forest, even when the forest does not seem interested in my being. I believe I have earned that at least.

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.

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What is going on with the tops of trees?


Trees are the foundation of the forest. If anything really defines the forest (its looks and feelings and general pointiness), it is trees. I have had many thoughts about trees. They are unavoidable since they are so omnipresent. Despite how much time space and time trees take both in the forest and my bear brain, though, there are still mysteries about them.

Like where did they come from?

I do not know, but I also know that might be a hard thing for me to answer. I am not entirely sure I know where I came from, and it seems to me unfair that I would ask the same question to trees whee I cannot answer it for myself.

A more approachable and fair question I have about trees, however, is: what is going on with the top of them? I have certainly climbed my share of trees, but never have I dared to venture all the way to the top. I can only get so high up before it becomes far too scary and shaky, so I have no reference for what they become even higher up. From what I can see, it is simply more tree. But that is from my very limited perspective, and assuming that is unfair to trees and what they might be where I cannot see.

I have a fear that up there is where they keep their mouths. Have you ever seen a mouth on a tree? I have not, but like all things in the forest, surely they consume things, right? So where do trees consume things? It seems, to me, that a good place for a tree to stick a mouth is right at the top of itself.

I suppose a high up tree mouth is not a bother for most forest creatures, but it does make me fear for one type of creature in particular: birds. If trees do have mouths at the very top of themselves, then surely they feed off of birds more than any other food source. This might explain why birds seem so skittish and frantic all the time. It does not explain, however, why birds sleep and nest in trees. If trees eat birds and birds use trees for nesting, then that is a very complex relationship. Nothing I eat sleeps on me (except for some leaves I once found tangled in my fur and had to eat to get them out of my fur).

I hope birds are okay. And I hope they know what is going on way up high.

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.

Every place is scary or too mean.


I worry that I hide myself from the greater expanses of the forest too much. I spend a great deal of time in my cave or near the river I like or by the dumpsters I frequent or in the most familiar patches of grass and dirt I know. Rarely do I traverse beyond my known routine, and when I do, it is usually because of an enticing smell or a terrifying sound or an interesting looking rock.

Generally, I am okay with my regular outings, but when I do worry about my routines, I worry about if I am missing out on something. I worry that there are grand, engaging experiences throughout the forest that I miss simply because I am too scared or comfortable to reach them. Experiences missed simply by virtue of proximity (or lack thereof). The forest does not do much to inform me about the possibilities of these events and experiences. There is no master forest schedule that I am aware of (though I have certainly entertained the idea of squirrels having and/or knowing of such a thing and actively hiding it from me for no reason beyond meaningless spite on their part).

When the worry outgrows my desire for comfort and safety, though, I begin to think about how or why I do not search new, exciting things.

And then it all comes back.

Every awful experience I have ever had that happened because of my leaving my routine.

The time I got locked in a dumpster and then some humans sprayed stinging mist at me and tipped the dumpster over so I rolled out? That happened because I tried a new dumpster, one I had never been to but had an incredibly smell to it I wanted to investigate. Blinded by the awful mist, I ran through the forest wildly until I eventually hit a tree and napped until the sun was up.

Or how about the time I tried to enjoy the offerings of a human lake? The water ended up burning my eyes, and the humans who lived near the lake sprayed more awful mist at me (you can guess what I did afterward).

Then there is the long, flat black rock. I have followed it far beyond my cave before to end up finding nothing new or of interest. Just more forest and smashed raccoons. A sad, difficult rock that seems to exist only to crush unsuspecting forest creatures. It was a sight I could have lived without experiencing.

There have been good times found far and beyond my cave, though. I once found a very cool and fish abundant part of the river I go to. I followed it upstream until I was able to see more fish through the water than I had ever seen. I jumped in. The water so cooler than I had ever remembered the river being. The fish were so plentiful that even my slow, uncoordinated paws were able to catch them. It was nice. And I would not have experienced it without going outside of my comfortable routine. Are the plentiful fish worth the potential of stinging mist, though? I do not know, but for now, I suppose I will go where my bearness leads me, whether it be the comfort of my cave or some new, terrifying adventure.

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.

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.

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.