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A startled rat shattered my reflection.

I find a lot of comfort in dumpsters. Whether it comes from the delicious sauces I find inside of them or the comfortable old chunks of rubber and cardboard I find outside of them, dumpsters provide a miraculous world of easy living and sauces. It is why I am always seeking new dumpsters or revisiting old ones. They are comfortable and nice, even when they are filled with other forest creatures seeking refuge and sauces.

I recently found something very strange and unfamiliar to me in a dumpster: my reflection. I have seen my me before in the river and shiny things I find around the forest, but never had I seen my me so clearly and pronounced as I had in this reflection. It was strange to see my me in such clear detail. I noticed the individual little hairs that made up my fur and the tiny splashes of dumpster sauces that kept bits of my fur knotted together. I could see the tiny holes that covered my nose and the glistening wetness that made it shine. My eyes were big and dark and looked infinite in their depth. My ears were fuzzy, which was nice to see.

I then noticed the expression on my bear face, made up by my bear nose and bear mouth and bear eyes and even my excellently fuzzy ears. My expression was much sadder looking than I felt. Did I always look like that? Did I walk around the forest carrying such an empty and downtrodden expression? Is this how other forest creatures see me all the time? Even trees? Do trees see me like this all the time?

Before I could explore my expression further, the me I was staring at shattered into countless pieces, making countless little mes scattered around the dumpster. It was a rat, creatures who frequently spend time in dumpsters. The rat must have been startled and then knocked my me reflection over. The rat knocked me out of my self obsessed reflection thinking and I went back to looking for more sauces in the dumpster, but for the rest of the day I could not stop thinking of my expression. How it did not represent how I felt. How it made me wonder if the bear I think I am matches up to the bear I appear to be. How I am not even sure if it matters if those things match. And how if it does matter, there does not seem to be much I can do about it.

I did, however, find a very interesting green sauce. It was spicy and left me very thirsty.

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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Thinking of the -ness of others.

Bearness is a topic I have exhausted time and time again and for good reason: I still do not fully understand it. I do not know how or why understanding bearness could matter. I do not know what to do with an understanding of bearness. I do not even know if I am correctly understanding bearness, whether it be bearness in general or my own, specific, bearness. I could probably explore the topic of bearness forever and ever until I am not a bear anymore (though I hope that never happens because I like being a bear).

But for all the energy and time I put towards being a bear, I have done little thinking about the -ness of others. I have, of course, explored the surface level of others’ -ness. Trees, for example, have a treeness, I am sure, and I have spent time pondering what that might be like. I have wondered if trees count their branches and their leaves and their acorns as part of their treeness or if each part of a tree gets its own -ness (leafness, acornness, branchness, etc.). I have also definitely wondered what trees think of themselves and their place in the forest and whether or not they think about how I might think about those things.

However, when it comes to long-term, truly thoughtful reflection on treeness, I have never really wrestled with it. The same goes for pretty much any -ness: squirrelness, dirtness, dumpsterness, skyness, sunness. Everythingness. I have not invested the kind of dedication I have invested in my own -ness to any of these things.

Part of that is because none of these things will discuss their own -ness with me. Even when I ask, I am almost always met with silence and, in one very unfortunate incident, loud crashing sounds (I knocked over the dumpster (sorry)).

But that is no excuse, I suppose. Just because something will not discuss its -ness with me does not mean I should remain oblivious to that thing’s -ness. There must be better ways to understand the -ness others. And in doing so, perhaps I can even learn a little more about my own -ness. Maybe part of bearness is trying to understand everyone-else-ness. Or at least trying to do so.

I am a bear.

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

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

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

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

The forest keeps going.

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

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

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

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

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

I am a bear.

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

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

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

My donations to the forest.

I recently decided that an unfortunate-accidental-sleepover-incident involving a raccoon and the fur on my back had a wonderful silver lining: I was able to donate a few tufts of fur from my back that were ripped asunder by an alarmed raccoon to the forest. I left the little balls of hair on the forest floor with the hopes of some fur-needing creature wandering by and happening upon them.

It was a nice feeling. Not only did it distract me from the pain of my back, but it also led me to thinking of different ways I could donate things to the forest and creatures who were in need. In that spirit, I started to leave little things around the forest I no longer had any need for. My claw tips. My left over leaves. Some acorns I found in my cave. One of my rabbit skeletons (an old one I never really licked anymore). A branch I could not eat all of. Some plastic bags that got stuck on my head for a full day (I was happy to get rid of them).

I kept giving and giving, and it felt great. I no longer had the burden of these possessions nagging my thoughts, and, with any luck, some creature who needed these things would find them, get their use out of them as well, and, maybe, pass them on to other creatures.

I started to think about how much of the forest I experienced is a donation from other things, too. The trees lend me their leaves. The sun gives me its light. The rabbits leave behind their skeletons. I borrowed all of these things, and there was no need to keep them in tiny piles in my cave forever like I usually did. They had a greater purpose that could not be fulfilled while they sat in my cave, doing nothing. The forest seemed to thrive off this uplifting cycle of borrowing and lending and donating and accepting. It was a nice realization.

I hope that I am able to give more of what I can give as I keep going throughout the forest. Who knows, maybe one day some creature will collect my bear skeleton and get some kind of use from it. I hope that is not for awhile, but it is a nice thought.

I am a bear.

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

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

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I hope nothing scared you today (or other days).

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am a bear.

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

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

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

But it never came.

The fox never shared.

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

I placed far too much trust into the magical fox who was actually a piece of sharp, shocking plastic. I am happy I did, though. Even if nothing heard my woes and thoughts and feelings, it felt good sharing them.

I am a bear.

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

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

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I destroyed some very good leaves.

I recently found a bundle of absolutely terrific leaves just sitting about the forest floor. I stared at them for awhile, admiring how perfectly crinkly and brown and orange they seemed. After taking in their lovely aesthetic, I rolled around in them, as I have done with many leaves I have seen for as long as I can remember.

This has been a routine, normal thing for me to do for a very long time, and before now, I had never put much thought into it beyond the simple pleasures it had brought me. It was almost as if I had always assumed leaves were there for me to roll around in. Now, I am not quite sure the truth is anywhere near that.

After the last time I rolled around in perfectly crinkly leaves, I took a moment to look upon the destruction I had unleashed onto them. They were completely destroyed, dilapidated, decimated. Ripped asunder by my careless rolling. My want for the crunch of their tiny leaf selves beneath my not-very-tiny bear body overshadowed my ability to consider what they were being put through. I had ended so many leaves just because I liked to roll around on them.

The mangled leaves got me thinking about how often I must ignore the results of me pursuing my interests and wants. How often do I do something for me, all the while ignoring how everything else in the forest is affected? When I break a branch on a tree while climbing it, I focus on the hurt I feel when I hit the ground, but what about the tree? Does the tree not also feel hurt with a once perfectly good branch ripped from itself? Does the water in the river have any interest going into my mouth and through my bear body? I have certainly never asked it.

When I thought about how my actions affect everything in the forest, I started to realize that most of my forest interactions are positive for me and horribly negative for the other party. Of course, some are unavoidable. Sorry, river water, but I need to drink you and you show no protest against it. But do I need to roll around on leaves? Of course not. I do not know where to begin when it comes to making sure there is a balance between my actions and ensuring their positive affects on others, but maybe it begins with being more aware I am not the only creature, the only thing, the only being in the forest. I am one, single bear among many other creatures and such, and understanding my own bearness certainly must involve knowing how it affects those others.

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.