what we wish from the woods
I learn wind-wild in the saw briar woods, in the compost floor beneath the heaven-jolting beams of pine. There are the mushrooms and beatles in the wet, rotten stumps, the bones of coyote leftovers. There, always the fear of snake, fear of electric fence fire.
I think we are rich. I hop through the long garden from one boot print to the next, my daddy’s. I’m alone to the barn, where the hogs stay.
Daddy’s dumped a truck-bed of chestnuts in a pile on the ground. He got them from Peggy Israel’s mama.They smell like pie and wet leaves and are impossible to pry out of the prickly shell, give me soar hands. I use two rocks.
Then I walk the tree line to the great big oak covered in woolly worms. I watch five of them in my palm, tickling. I still taste the barn air. Soon the honeysuckles take over. The crow’s shadow swoops through the bare winter limbs.
25 years later, I hear the interstate roar, my kids surrounded in sidewalk. None of them will ever step barefoot on a bee. There are some things we can’t pass down, a little beauty and some of the pain, too, that maybe we wish we could.