Tag Archives: trees

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.

Advertisements

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.

The pros and cons of mud: why do birds think it is okay to laugh at me?

a-dumb-bird1

Why mud is good:

  • Smells neat
  • Feels neat in between toes
  • Feels neat in nose
  • You can lick it and nobody will yell at you
  • It tastes pretty okay
  • Even the chunky parts taste pretty okay
  • You can eat however much you want
  • You can keep eating it and nobody will yell at you
  • It is nice to not be yelled at
  • There has been a lot of yelling in my life recently, and it is nice to have a peaceful moment where nobody is yelling at me
  • Sometimes I wonder if I attract yelling, I ask myself if I do anything that warrants so much yelling, but that is unfair, I cannot help that I am whatever about me that gets me yelled at so often
  • Like yesterday, I was walking around some human caves and they were shouting for some reason and it seemed like maybe they were shouting at the glowing boxes they were near inside their caves but also I had a feeling it was about me?
  • Perhaps it was not about me, maybe the yelling from those humans had nothing to do with me
  • Maybe none of the shouting I hear is about me, maybe the creatures shouting are shouting because of something with them
  • Mud feels good on my belly
  • I need to learn that not all things that happen in the forest, even the things that I experience, are strictly about me, maybe things shout because they want to shout and there is nothing I can do about it
  • I like mud, and I like sloshing my feet about in it

Why mud is bad:

  • Oh no
  • I slipped
  • I slipped in the mud
  • But I like mud
  • Why would mud do this to me
  • No, mud did not do this, mud is just mud and I slipped
  • It is not mud’s fault
  • I fell again
  • And slipped
  • That has to be because of the mud
  • Why, mud
  • Why betray me
  • Please, mud
  • I think those birds saw me
  • Those birds definitely saw me
  • And they are laughing
  • I think they are laughing
  • And shouting
  • Shout-laughing
  • Or maybe they are making bird sounds
  • Mud has betrayed me and now birds are making fun of me
  • And possibly shouting at me
  • No
  • This is not about me
  • The mud is just mud
  • The birds are just making bird sounds
  • Or
  • Maybe
  • They are not
  • Maybe everything is against me
  • I am so saddened by mud
  • And birds
  • And shouting
  • And everything not being about me
  • Or everything being about me
  • Please
  • Mud can get stuck in your nose, and when it dries that is not pleasant

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.

An open letter to the deer across the river.

the-deer-peace1

Dear deer,

I am a bear. In case you do not know which bear I am, I am the bear across the river who you sometimes glare at or spit towards. For as long as I have gone to the river (a favored place of mine for swimming, staring at my reflection, and trying not to drown when I catch fish), I have always seen you there. Sometimes you just drink the water from the river. Sometimes I am quite certain you are cursing me in some fashion. Sometimes you just stare at me. And I stare back.

There is a tense, ever present conflict between us that I am certain is rooted in a violent ancient history neither of us can truly comprehend. I sometimes feel like there has always been a deer and a bear staring at one another across that river, and the bear has always been a noble, beautiful beast, and the deer has always been an intolerable plague on the bear’s gentle sensibilities. I do not like admitting this, but I do not like you. You upset me. I can smell your rancid fur from across the river, and I would rather dip my snout into the muddy bank below than get any closer to your terrible stench. Also, your antlers are ridiculous.

I am sorry, and I take back the last comment (I am actually quite envious of your antlers because they are simply majestic). I do not want to add further damage to our already fragile relationship. My intentions are to do the opposite. I want to heal whatever ails between us. I want to learn to go to the river and not be disgusted by the horrible drool that drags from your filthy, surely disease ridden mouth.

I apologize again. That was uncalled for (though influenced by real experiences and feelings I have had).

I want to learn to accept you and everything you are, even the things about you that dig trenches of hate into the depths of my soul. I want to learn to share the river with you without you spitting at me and without me running from the horrible hacking sounds you make with your mouth and nose at the very same time.

We do not have to be friends, at least not at first. Perhaps never. But we do need to learn to accept one another. We need to learn from each other’s perspectives. I welcome you to my side of the river with open paws. Come drink with me one day. I promise I will not gag at your putrid smell or the way your strange teeth seem to be in a perpetual state of falling from your face.

And as for what you have done in the past to offend me, all is forgiven. As I am sure that you will forgive all I have done to offend you.

Thank you, deer, and I hope to see you soon,

A bear (across the river)

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.

What if I am the last bear?

last-bear1

I have not seen another bear in a long time, and my total bear sightings is really quite small (unless you count times I have seen myself (which actually sometimes leads to me thinking I am seeing another bear (which is scary))). Of course, the most likely of scenarios is that the forest is much much larger than I could ever even fathom, so the bears are out there just not around me.

Still…

I worry…

What if I am the last bear?

The thought has kept me restless many a night in my cave. I stare at the black, pointy wall of my cave and wonder how similar it must be to the future of bearness and bears in general… Bleak and… pointy. I am not sure what that could mean, but it scares me.

Even though I am just one, single bear, I often feel like I have more to contribute to the forest in general. Surely there is forest or bear wisdom I can pass down to other bears or even other creatures of the forest. How will anyone ever learn my perfected technique of rubbing my fur in leaves until it is has the balanced amount of fuzziness? Surely someone in the forest, especially a younger bear, could benefit from such knowledge. If I were to perish (probably by deer) without sharing this knowledge, and I am truly the last bear, what would happen to that information? Where would it go? Would it venture off to wherever I would go? Would it fill the empty space between the trees in the forest, waiting to be learned by some willing and interested creature? Would it just stop being?

If I am the last bear, then is there even a point to my personal continued bearness? Do I even need to be a bear if my legacy of being a bear stops with me? I like being a bear (though I do not have any basis of comparison, to be honest), but something about being the final bear of all bears upsets me. It makes me wonder if I am what all bears before me were leading up to or if those bears before me even cared. Maybe they all thought they were the last bears at some point. Maybe they just kept being bears because that was what they knew how to do. To be bears.

I am sure it is just some strange anxiety that is coiled at the base of my bear head somewhere that keeps this idea alive. The chances of me being the final bear seem low. There have to be more bears out there. I am sure. Maybe.

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.