June 20

About a face I dreamed,
that in the glare was twice forgotten.
And a meadow shared, with lilac witness,
of promise freely given.
In the dream I beg the dandelions,
hold your seeds a little longer,
show your heads full and hold them high.
For the keeper ticks his clock by you,
and only deceit will grant us more time.

Childhood

Scar Maps

Scars have always fascinated me. They start out as this wound, a disruption – painful and unwelcome. The healing goes to work, but in refusing to conform to your original design it leaves behind a permanent reminder of the moment of injury – your very own life souvenir if you will. Over time it’s no longer foreign, naturalizing to your skin’s landscape as if it was there from the beginning.

Whenever I see scar on someone I want to know the story, and there’s almost always one to tell. People can point to a scar and tell you what year it was, what they were doing, who they were with and how much it hurt. It can serve as a cautionary tale or justification for major bragging rights. In some cases it can be inherently more valuable – offering a deeper understanding of that person you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Today I took an inventory of mine (the ones I can see anyway) and realized that the most of them came to be before I reached the age of 20.

Age 8 – right foot, 2nd toe: little squiggle from dragging a canoe over my foot at summer camp.

Age 11 – left shin: from hot cooking pan dropped on my leg while attempting to cook bacon during the 6th grade camping trip.

Age 15 – left knee: from smashing into a track hurdle attempting to win my heat (why my coach thought I had the legs for hurdles, I can’t tell you).

Age 16 – right arm, halfway between the wrist and elbow: from slashing my arm on a rusty pole sticking out of the ground as I helped someone carry a keg.

Age 32 – left hand, thumb: sliced on a tomato soup can lid as I attempted to twist it off.

This realization startled me and I began wondering, have I become wiser, more sure-footed? Doubtful. Is my skin more durable now? Or have I simply ceased to have fun? To not take enough chances?

We all have a map of scars – some from the mundane, some from tragedy – others from moments of joy. For most of us they don’t take much precedence in our day to day lives – mostly ignored, just a small piece of you that didn’t heal according to plan. But what if you took a moment to follow that map? Where might it lead you? Maybe somewhere interesting.