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I look down at my big, hairy paws, covered in honey. I remember all the times they have lunged at salmon, almost of their own accord. Or swiped out at another beast who was similarly in a quest to feed his belly. I remember all the times that I have woken from a 4 month nap, only to realize that the body I was in was this irksome, heavy thing, so good at knocking over trees and intimidating any other mammal, but so bad at communicating what I felt in my heart. Sometimes there was moments of joy and pleasure. The feeling of having a belly full of fish and honey, until I realized that I was just prolonging and strengthening this body. The thrill of sex, taking over my mind, until I realize what was giving me pleasure was a beast as ugly as I.

I have always had these feelings. I don't know if my fellows have them as well. Because I still act in the same fashion as they do. I react instinctively, chasing down a marmot or standing on my hind feet when I see a rival. My mind is on another track, though. Perhaps we are all this way, split between behavior and thought. I have no reference sources to consult.

However, if others do feel this way, I am the first to do anything about it. I had to build my hands first, so that I could then build other instruments. This took a lot of digging around in trash, which is fortunately one of my main skills. It took a while, but all that I really had to do otherwise was eat and sleep. And then, this being a national park, I picked up knowledge of genetics and cell biology from overhearing the conversations of research biologists. I used the mechanical hands to start putting my machine together, and used my nose to sniff out the ingredients I would need. I can tell the difference by smell of over 800 rare plants, and after collecting them and mixing together their various ingredients, I am ready to step into this machine, and come out as something svelte, graceful and beautiful, leaving behind all traces of my brutish existence.

You don't think I mean a hominid, do you? Goodness, no, that would be only slightly better than what I am now. Same shuffling stance, same grasping hands and same hairiness. No, I am going to fall out of this machine as a dolphin, and then worm my way into the Straight of Juan de Fuca, where I will find some fellows, and hopefully be greeted by them. A hairless, weightless life of song and play! And, honestly, I didn't want to give up fish. My life in the forest will be forgotten the moment I touch that warm salt water. My compatriots will not be aware of one less of us, unless it means that there is one less mouth to feed at the trough of the dumpster. My clumsy life on the land will be swallowed by sweet oblivion.

By morning I will have erased all traces that I was ever a bear.

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