Poo Prints In The Sand
I grew up in the little country town of Palermo, Maine. I was a son of the Earth, Boondock Boy, and Child of the Mud. Crow song was my song, pond scum was my soap, and the aroma of cow manure fertilized my sleep, growing a single dream:
I will never leave my woods and waters.
But it happened anyway.
Dad got a new job, and we moved from the country to a town called Windham, which some say is “part of the Portland, South Portland, Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area,” but I knew the truth:
It was the city.
At my new school, I knew no one, and I was scared.
Something awful happens to me when I’m in new, scary places. My personality disappears. I’m gone completely, and a new me takes over:
You know those tales about anesthesia paralyzing the body but you’re wide awake inside the shell, feeling everything, every cut of the surgeon’s blade, so you scream and scream, but you can’t scream or attack the surgeon or get away?
That’s what Safe Guy does to me.
He’s quiet, mild, peachy, polite to a fault, and he ventures nothing, which gains only the terrible label:
I’d lost my boonies, my mud, my scum, my manure, my me.
But on the weekends, we drove back to Palermo to continue the slow transportation of our stuff, living in the old, soon-to-be-sold home for a couple days and nights, getting to say goodbye again to my country.
I had to reconnect, to plug myself into Mother Earth, jamb her umbilical back into my gut and be myself with all my might while there was still time, while Safe Guy was trapped in my city bedroom, pacing, foaming at his hunky-dory mouth, waiting for my return.
I went to the woods.
I tramped about, circling here and there like a dog making its bed, like a cat shopping for a cozy place to die.