The wild backyard

The morning grass was cold, wedged between Michael’s small toes, but he continued running though his backyard, his kingdom.  Leaping onto logs felt dangerous, which made it all the more important to do.  Climbing without socks or shoes, trees slipped handfuls of splinters into his feet, but they weren’t that bad.  In the warmer afternoon, Michael forded Quixahol creek (which he called the Great Wall of China), but his feet stumbled on thin blankets of slime.  He slipped before he reached the bank and struck his temple against rock.  Too far from home to call for help, he rolled onto the shore to rest.  But resting wasn’t restful.  The rocks pressed against his back in funny ways and the seaweed smelled like garbage.  Dizzy and mildly rested, he picked up again at sunset and decided to walk around the river, because he certainly did not want to slip again.  The path wound along the river without a crossing in sight, but the boy did not want to go back.  He had come so far.  The river looked deeper and faster.  It felt colder as the sun ducked behind the horizon.  And he sat, not knowing what to do next, just knowing that something was to be done or should have been done before dark.


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