The Legend Of Bear On The Square

The Legend Of Bear On The Square

Ever wonder how Bear on the Square got its name?
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In Dahlonega, there are two festivals which dominate the social calendar. One is a reason to move away from Dahlonega, the other is a reason to live there forever. The first one is Gold Rush — an event to be avoided at all costs. No amount of fool's gold in the world can compensate for the swarms of yellow jackets, tourists and traffic that infest the city during this time. The other is Bear on the Square, which is from April 22 to 23.

This festival arrives with the spring blooms and warm weather. Leafy oaks sprawl like parasols over the town square, shading the vendors in their white tents below. It is a bouquet of barking dogs, hand-holding couples and children sporting freshly painted works of art on their cheek. The food trucks offer rare delicacies like corn dogs, homemade soda, cotton candy and fried Oreo's.

The best part about Bear on the Square however is the music. Street performers dominate the town square, each playing Appalachian and Blue grass classics. Every street has a musical group, but their chords never overlap or clash with the performers on other streets.

Interestingly, most people do not know how Bear on the Square came into existence. The tale is both local lore and historical fact, typical of Dahlonega oral tradition.

From the forest, a baby black bear ambled into a Dahlonega sycamore tree. This was not the first time that a bear had entered the town, but the citizens of Dahlonega were none-the-less thrilled. It soon became clear, however, that the cub was in danger and unable to escape the tree. His ambitions exceeded his means, and he flew too close to the sun. Many people who worked in the square feared that he might fall and hurt himself, so they took the matter into their own hands.

Everyone assembled by the sycamore tree, and it was decided that a forest ranger would would coax the cub down and then sedate him. The citizens then worked together to remove the bear from the square and relocate him to his forest home.

Hooray! The baby bear is saved! Everyone returned to their daily tasks, feeling connected with the community and nature.

The bear woke the next day with a hangover, in a part of the forest he was unfamiliar with. In typical bear fashion, he returned to city. We may never know why — perhaps he was hungry? Maybe he liked the fan-fare. I think he just didn't like being told what to do. Regardless of his reasoning, he decided to walk in the middle of Main Street and was hit by a car.

The little guy is commemorated by a statue fastened to one of the trees in the town square. Bear on the Square is a community festival about the citizens of Dahlonega trying to save a bear, and celebrates Appalachian culture, music and a precocious little black bear who united a town.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest/ Searcy

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Open Your Eyes, Animals Are Gay, Too

So are animals brainwashed, as well?
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Gaycism | gay + racism | noun

Intense fear or hatred of homosexuality

Homosexual sex, relations, and love are exhibited through prehistoric times, the era of the Greeks and Romans, and Victorian England. However, human beings aren't the only known gay creatures. Animals, ranging from lions, dolphins, monkeys, penguins, giraffes, bison, warthogs, lizards, elephants, hyenas, and other species can also be gay. You know why? Because being born gay has to do with biological origin—genes.

Don't believe me? Believe the scientific evidence, unless you're against science, as well.

Scientists have claimed that "homosexual behavior... is not only common, it's the norm." Although these cases were once seen as anomalies, these relations have been observed for decades, and Bruce Bagemihl's "Biological Exuberance," brought to light how common homosexuality is within the animal kingdom. Gay behavior is exhibited in approximately "10% of prevailing species throughout the world."

So many animals participate in homosexual relations as they seek for pleasure: "sexual intercourse, courtship, emotional bonds, partnership, and even child-rearing behavior." Even more noteworthy is the benefit, specifically as an "evolutionary mechanism," these behaviors are and how they are advantageous to the animal kingdom. Ergo, although homosexual relations seems to be "evolutionary paradox," natural animals continue to express these behaviors, which strengthen bonds between creatures.

So, why can't humans do so, as well?

The fluid sexuality of animals include us humans—another natural species. Additionally, don't argue that humans are more developed beings than other animals and, thus, are not categorized with animals. Please, we are mammals—a specific type of animal—and being gay is not "purely a cognitive trait of human beings."

Shockingly, I've had a generating conversation with one of my peers about the gay community, what it means to be gay, and the reasons behind one's sexual orientation. I was horrified by the individual's words. Although I know I can't change people's opinions, I hope to help show the world the innate behavior homosexuality is: No, the gay parades, flags, and glitter are not brainwashing humans. Instead, sexuality—heterosexuality, homosexuality, and the in-betweens of the spectrum—are quite simply naturally embedded in our DNA.

In our world filled with hatred, there is no room for gaycism. Animals aren't homophobic, so are the more complex of the animals—humans—filled with such fear?

Cover Image Credit: queer_crystal on Instagram

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It's More Than just Straws

Let's work a little harder for those sea turtles.

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Happy 2018! The greater part of the western world has finally realized that we are overproducing at a rate that is creating an excess of plastic waste that has now polluted a huge portion of the world's oceans. I could not be more ecstatic that people are realizing the issue at hand; plastic is not a realistic option if we want to continue to nourish and live on the big, blue planet Earth.

As a result of this realization, most companies and restaurants are now either working to ban or eliminate all straws from production, as a result of consumer action. Yay! Our voices are being heard and production of plastic is decreasing as a result! This is a huge step for civilization and for the environment. The sea turtles are thankful.

So, you stopped asking for a straw at dinner or with your coffee, which is great! But, it doesn't have to stop there! There is still so much plastic waste being created and used at a nearly unsustainable rate. I encourage you to look for other non-plastic or low-waste alternatives in your lifestyle. Not using a straw is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of green living! Here are some great ideas to look into if you're interested in helping the turtles out just a little extra.

1. Try to cut down on eating out

The fast food industry produces so much sage-use waste. Think about the things you throw away after a McDonalds run that were used once and will end up in a land fill! Consider setting more time aside to make good, low-waste food a priority. Not only will you wallet thank you, but so will your waistline AND the sea creatures. Win, win, win!

2. Re-think your routine and consider waste-free alternatives

Take a moment and think about how much plastic you use in your daily routine, for instance, in the bathroom. There's a huge amount of plastic used both in most skin routines and in the shower. Now, companies are developing waste-free alternatives for the shower, like shampoo and conditioner bars as well as face cleansers that pack a whole routine into one face wash. Re-examine other areas of your life and see where you can cut out plastic! (There are so many smell-good options for shampoo bars out right now)

3. Watch your carbon footprint contribution

I know every once in awhile everyone likes to take a long, hot shower, but try to cut the majority of showers down to five minutes or less. Unplug electronics when they aren't being used. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. Utilize natural light. Spend more time outside by biking to class versus driving those 4 blocks. Get toned legs and save the earth in the process! You go sis!

4. Switch to non-plastic alternatives when possible

Plastic eating utensils, plastic bags, and plastic water bottles are all super easy swaps in an everyday routine. You can customize your new water bottle with Mo State stickers. Reusable bags at the grocery store means no more having thousands of plastic bags under the kitchen sink. Amazon has some awesome bamboo eating utensils on sale for cheap that are reusable, cute, and biodegradable when you are done using them. (These even come with a travel case)

5. Consider a minimalist or low-waste lifestyle

For those of you looking for a sure-fire way to cut out unneeded plastics or belongings in your life, minimalism is for you! It is a lifestyle prompted by the idea that human beings are supposed to be living with less than we currently do. An excellent place to start, if you are interested, is the minimalist documentary on Netflix or their consequent podcasts available for streaming on Spotify. You'll declutter your life, feel more productive, and create less waste in the process. (Super cool dudes living for the right reasons)

With a little extra effort, we can all take more steps towards living with less and living with less waste. Let's do it for those sea turtles!

Cover Image Credit:

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