I am outside in the yard. I am under three, because it is when we still lived in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am standing. I am not terribly steady and I am holding on to the pipe. I remember how the pipe feels, metal and a bit rusty and rough. The day is hot, but the metal is cool on my hands. I am drinking the water out of the top of a pipe that sticks up from the ground. Water pools in the top and I like it. It tastes of iron. I am not supposed to drink that water.
I lose my balance a little and bump hard against the pipe. My tooth breaks. Now my mouth tastes of blood and iron.
I don’t remember it hurting much and I am not scared. I am mostly annoyed and resigned. I think, I am going to get caught now, I can’t hide this.
This is me in the canoe and my parents, in the early 1960s. I don’t know who took the photograph.
My second earliest memory is between age three and four. We have moved to upstate New York, Trumansburg, and are living with my grandmother. I am old enough to know that I can’t pick random things outside and eat them. However, my grandmother has a currant bush: red currants.
I am amazed to see her picking and eating something outside. Does she not have to follow the rules? And then she lets me eat some. And I do not instantly die.
“You may pick them and eat them off this bush whenever you want.” says my grandmother.
I remember the color of the currants and the taste and the miracle of having permission to go eat something on my own recognizance, outside in the great wide wild world. I was so thrilled and entranced with the currant bush and my grandmother.
Here are red, black and white currants from the farmer’s market yesterday. I put them in a fruit salad with a honey melon that was so ripe that is dripped, and added apples and blueberries and lemon juice. Mmmmm, bounty. The tartness of the currants is delicious with the sweet melon.
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