Wilderness Experience

Photo by Vladimir Kudinov from Pexels

For the first time 
I want to be back on my low income block 
Back on my cracked concrete porch 
Back, futilely 
Watering the few surviving tufts of grass 
On our packed dirt lawn. 

For the first time, I don’t want  
Clean mountain air 
Unnaturally blue lakes 
Or winding mountain paths. 

For the air buzzes with gnats and stings with mosquitoes 
The lakes and streams crawl with slugs,  
And flow with bacteria and scum. 
The paths wind in leisurely, scenic circles,  
And never lead back to familiar faces or safety. 
In the placid silence, all I can hear is myself 
Trying to scream, bravely. 
Unhappy camper, 
Afraid to share Nature’s bathroom 
With a tiny bright-green garden snake, 
Finally at one with my insecurities, 
Face to face with my self-image, 
Unable to rough it, 
Unable to tough it out. 
The chafing sun is only ever 
Obscured by rain-laden clouds 
That boom like giant ogres. 
The cold and wet 
Bring me to the edge of depression, 
And tears. 
I want to go home 
Sprawl on our cheap couch 
And dive into a world 
Where nature is a life changing experience, 
For boys
Like me
Who need to  
Put down their books 
And go outside 
And get some fresh air. 

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