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