Walking the Perimeter

I walk the perimeter of my yard considering the layers of time underneath. I start at my toes, the curvature of my ankles, the scars and freckles that dot my calves and thighs. The history of this body, the generations of stories buried within. There seems to come right steady a next day, next year, next generation, next war, next plague, and next solution for how to see it all through, yet the seeds planted here and what’s to grow from it we can’t be sure. Not yet.

I remember walking the perimeter of my yard when I was small, catching crawdads in the creek, running full tilt down that bank with my bucket. I remember standing in that warm water, feeling the wet sand squish in-between my toes, recognizing where our land ended and the out there began.

I remember floods when that creek rose and we lost power and all those lines of safety, of mine and yours, became blurred. Where one thing began and another ended was no matter anymore. There was too much water, not enough power, too much loss, and not enough remained– so the grownups said. And they were all so worried, but I felt electric, as if the storm had reached down and struck me, as if you could set me out in the center of the neighborhood and have everyone plug their toasters and irons and night lamps right into me. I wanted to hover right across that bank with this current buzzing in my toes, explore uncharted territory with its infinite possibility.

As I sit on this bank in the country, many years later, looking out across this barbed wire fence, I wonder how many others have sat here, considering its attempt at containing the outside from coming in, the inside from spilling out. I watch the way those cows move, all heavy and slow, considering every step and every breath as they glide through the pasture.

I take a note from them for this day, allowing myself to explore all the details– what the air feels like in this great plague, where my body feels stuck, wounded, heavy, where it’s all warm, wide open and electric, riding above these boundaries. I consider every breath back to my cabin, every step forward into this day, attempting to glide along in this next layer of time…

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