teeth like skin

ly loses her top front tooth in the somewhat sacred five minutes when everyone is actually quiet and journaling in their sit spots scattered along the trail after lunch and she runs to me from the shelter of sticks that she’d claimed since monday,
smiling with her hand outstretched
and there is a little bit of blood where she had been wiggling and wiggling. i tell her yes you can bring it inside and get cleaned up.

when we’re all walking out of the woods back to the classroom, h, who is also seven years old, looks like she is thinking very hard and tells me she is jealous of ly losing her tooth.
i tell her that i didn’t lose most of my teeth until 5th grade, but i’m not sure it’s a comfort in the moment
and i am left to wonder about the cravings of growing, even if it means
the coming apart of us,
shedding teeth like
a process of molting i’d forgotten i’d done.

airplane as a wilderness setting

the mental picture I take of all eight 5th grade boys muddy and smiling, sitting on the fallen log just when the sun bursts out from behind the clouds, when for the moment all of them are miraculously not complaining or picking on each other, or getting their socks unnecessarily soaked in all of the small mountains of melting snow. I hoot and holler for a minute and they look at me funny. i frame my fingers in front of my eyes click i tell them its for #mentalinstagram.


when the fire only lasts for a minute or two at a time in the sodden fire pit, with soaking logs and crumpled birch bark but I let them blow on the coals and keep on trying anyway. they are all working together and taking turns feeding small twigs into the flame /not flame anymore. j, the smallest of all of them, is laughing and talking at the same time with a mouth full of a burnt marshmallow and caramelized sugar all around his lips and stuck in his braces.


how the teacher of the Wilderness First Aid course i am taking over the weekend points out that an airplane is a wilderness setting, and I imagine a 747 with old growth oaks growing between the seats. but I want to ask seriously what if we box up and label all of the earth’s wilderness as resource, and then the only time we can practice wilderness medicine is in the sky.