Bears scare me. Really, bears frighten the shit out of me. Really, it's not bears themselves, but rather the idea of what happens after the startled, or hungry, or angry bear has done some ripping, tearing, clawing and biting to a person. It's not the pain that really scares me, although I respect the idea that it would hurt a whole hell of a lot.

Really, it's what happens after there's not enough of the person left intact to maintain the fragile balance of life.

So, what happens after there's not enough of a person left intact to maintain the fragile balance of life? I don't know, but I get the feeling that it's nothing, and that frightens the shit out of me.

I think that's natural.

I think that it's natural to fear not existing. I mean, we can't even think about it, really. We can't really imagine our own non-existence. I tried really hard to do it once, and I think I had some success, but the horrible blackness frightened the shit out of me. I think I did it wrong, the whole imagining nothing thing, but it still frightened the shit out of me.

Anyway, like I said, I think that's natural.

What life is, is that it's one big chemical reaction that's been going on for a long, long time, and we're a privileged little part of that. So are bears, really, but that's not important just now. What's important is that the reaction keeps going, and I guess part of that is that it got a will to live somewhere along the line.

So I'm afraid to become nothing.

I'm afraid to have my little bit of the reaction stop reacting. Bears are too, so they try to shred the shit out of everything that scares them. Really, I guess I do the same thing. So do most people. That's why we've killed a whole hell of a lot of bears, and made sure that they only live a few places, where there aren't many of us. In a way, I'm grateful that our ancestors did that. It means that I'm less likely to meet, and thus less likely to get torn to shit by, a bear.

In a way, I'm grateful that our ancestors killed off bears and lots of other terrifying animals.

In a way, it's great that the really scary shit from the Pleistocene is mostly extinct. In a way, though, I know that you can't just do that. We are part of Nature. We're all one big chemical reaction. We know it, too. We love zoos and gardens, and parks, and all kinds of places where Nature can go on being Nature, and we can enjoy it, whatever that means.

That's natural, too.

It's natural to like nature, bears and all, because we know that we're part of it, and to kill it off is to kill off ourselves. We need shitloads of oak trees, and wheat, and bunny-rabbits, and even bears to keep ourselves alive. I think that people are really part of Nature, too.

So should have enough Nature around not to die.

If we screw that up, I'm going to have the same problem as if a bear got me. I'll be nothing. Although, I'd rather get mauled by a bear. If the bear gets me, then at least there's the rest of Nature going on about its business all over the world. What I was part of will keep going if I die by bear. If we kill Nature, though, everything is done. I guess it's not so bad, because, us being Nature, Nature's chemical reaction will just have come to its natural end. But that's still scary.

But really, even if we do keep Nature/us going, I'm still going to die.

I'm going to die no matter what I, or anyone else does. If nothing else, no bears, human mistakes, or anything like that gets me, old age will. And I will cease. And that's still frightening. I can try to put it off, but I will someday cease to exist, and that frightens the shit out of me.

In fact, all of Nature will cease to exist eventually, no matter what we do.

The Earth cannot exist forever. Nothing can, according to what I've heard about physics. I'll be dead by then, but how much comfort is that, really? By the time trees, and rocks, and planets, and bears, and everything else stops existing, I'll have already been not existing for a very long time.

So what can I do?

I can't stop Death. I can't stop it from getting me, and I can't stop it from getting Nature. The only thing I can really do is try not to think about it. I can fill my time with silly and fun things. I can fill my time with things that make me, and those around me, laugh.

Sometimes, for no good reason, out of nowhere, I can say something brief about how bears scare the shit out of me.

And that usually gets a laugh.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.