Free-writing at Alderleaf

Last weekend, T and I went to Alderleaf College’s wilderness survival short course. It was a life-changing experience. When I got home, I started free-writing for the first time in years. Here’s a sample:

I’d never had a salmonberry before
Though I’ve lived here for two years.
I’d never looked up and down at the same time
Or carved into cedar with a sharpened blade
Or transformed cedar into fire with sweat and hot breath.
I’d never before slept in the rain
Or been awoken by the soft thump of a rabbit
And seen the cut stems as a signal she was there.
I’d never smelled the place where a deer had slept
Never seen with my feet or heard with my hands.
I’d never seen myself in this way
Pinched awake by the thorns of the salmonberry
And by the prick of an unattended knife.
I’d never seen myself in this way
Alert and naked and full of musk and sweat
Unsheathed from the restraints of the city
Thirsty for the rain and baking in the sun.
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