I was unknowing, and my body felt relieved. I was tucked away in a corner of trees by a streambed, a little ways off the rocky path, but not far enough. Hurry up, hurry up. Is that enough? No, I’ll just have to go again later. More! Finish now. Hikers from Japan or some other Asiatic country, a family of hikers, was coming up the trail. I could hear their feet crunching and see the sides of their faces through the leaves. I pulled up my shorts as I saw cameras swinging from their necks.

It wasn’t until later that the bumps came. Hard big bumps like inefficient sand paper, a whole clan of them perked up on my right elbow and around my thighs and on my shin. They made me mad as fuck. Itching – chafed – hurting, like someone had taken those chunks of my skin and inserted metal, alien robot skin. Skin only good for scratching – get it off me – hurting, red, parched, chickens.

1 comment:

  1. The thing with this post: I'm in a creative nonfiction writing class at Northwestern, and our exercise for the class was to make these lists about our encounters with nature. After that, the professor had us pick one that brought out "aesthetic emotion." I'm not sure what he meant by that, and for whatever reason I picked this time where I was peeing in the woods while hiking the Maroon Bells and I got poison ivy.

    My professor (who, by the way, looks a lot like the most recent James Bond) then had us close our eyes and meditate on the experience he had chosen. "Pay attention to your body. How does it feel? What is it like to interact with nature in this way?" And I started laughing a little bit because he was having me concentrate deeply on my memory of peeing.