My earliest memory is taste and proprioception.
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.