The bear lived in the woods. He loved the woods. He loved dancing in the fallen leaves. The
leaves would dance with him, and the crunching would provide percussion. The bear loved the
stream. It was cool. It was calming. It provided food, and the rocks below the water were the
smoothest. The bear loved to collect rocks. He loved smooth rocks, but he also loved rocks that
were jagged and craggy. The bear could be smooth some days, but other days he could be
jagged and craggy. Especially in the winter. The cold brings out the jagged and craggy in bears.
This is why most bears hibernate.
The bear hibernates, but he doesn’t like it. Sleep, for the bear is simply a necessity. He doesn’t
dream, so sleep is a blank escape from the joys of the waking world. He missed the fallen leaves.
He missed the stream. He missed the rocks. So, many nights, even in winter, he would wander
the woods. It was quiet, especially in winter. Snow scared away campers, and dampened the
woods’ natural sounds. The bear would lose himself in thought, sometimes not noticing the
same trees and stones that he passed every day and night.
It was a winter night the bear found the sweater. He came across an empty campsite. The last
gasps of the fire were fluttering through the breeze and the footprints of the campers had been
re-filled with snow. Only the vague outlines of their boots remained. And a sweater, which hung
from the nub of a branch on a fir tree. The bear studied the sweater. Something about it seemed
different. It was black, with bits of silver thread snuck in throughout. He couldn’t read the tag,
but guessed it was meant for a much larger man. Something about the sweater suggested
depth, as if the material held space within. The bear had the odd inclination to put it on. The
winter wind had a bite to it, and the sweater seemed like it would muzzle that bite.
As he pulled the sweater over his brown fur, the bear felt his paws leave the ground. The trees
and stones and even the snow faded. As he adjusted his eyes, he realized he was no longer on
land. As he turned his head, he realized he was no longer on Earth. Stars shone all around him.
The sweater rippled on his torso, like the stream when fish fled his footsteps. As the bear moved
his arms, he found the stars danced around him. Each twitch, each reach caused the stars to
spin and shimmer in new patterns, like fireflies. The bear shifted his weight back and found his
legs over his head. He was revolving like the stars, and when he reached for purchase, the stars
danced a new dance around him. Startled, the bear removed the sweater and found himself
back in the woods. The fire was out. The footsteps gone. The bear replaced the sweater, and