Grizzly bears spend their lives in oscillation between two forests: one inner, and one outer. During the summer months, they wander through the outer forest, foraging for anything and everything that their stomachs will accept. Once winter arrives, however, they succumb to hibernation, and retreat into the inner forest of the unconscious. As far they’re concerned, both of these woodlands are equally real.
A dream that lasts for several months may sound beautiful to the human ear, but wild animals possess a morbid sort of imagination that is far more conducive to nightmares. Their lives are spent without the security offered by civilization, and death is always close at hand, especially during winter. For this reason, their dreamscapes are just as harsh as their waking world.
This psychospheric habitat is consistent across regions and generations- some even speculate that two bears can meet in the inner forest, then remember each other upon meeting again in the outer. There is, of course, much beauty within these dreams, but the threats found within far outweigh the pleasures. Some are overt, like the packs of six-legged wolves whose necks end in rings of teeth; others are subtle, like the evergreens whose hollow-tipped needles can siphon blood. Imaginary monsters are not a human invention, after all; they have a long ancestry, and these bears come face to face with the most primordial of their kind.
Months of exposure to such things without the willpower to endure them could drive any living thing to madness, but this rarely happens to grizzlies. Their unconscious forms have evolved along a separate path from their conscious ones, for nature has selected those whose minds can survive. Within the region of their own stalwart imaginations, they have prehensile claws, skin as thick as oaken heartwood, and crowns of sword-sharp antlers. As the centuries have passed, they have gained the strength to overcome any inner hardship, even as cubs.
Though this realm is typically only occupied by bears, the inner forest sometimes creeps its way into the dreams of other creatures. Unconscious humans do not tend to fare as well when they stumble inside; though their bodies always manage to awaken, their minds rarely follow.
Primordial dreams can interact with our lives in curious ways. Between real and unreal, we are Just The Glass.
Imaginary monsters have a long tradition among humans. Today, they practice The Art of Monstering.
The outer forest is also filled with spectacular secrets. Some of its residents experience Deciduous Lives.