Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood



We begin life like smooth green shoots. Think of the silky texture of a newborn’s skin, their fat toe nubbins and impossible fingers; the fresh rain smell of their hair.

In life’s late autumn, humans grow skin tags, brown spots, and moles. They develop ingrown toenails and scaly skin. What is it with skin tags, anyway? Doctors say they are harmless, and are loathe to remove them. “They’ll only come back.”

Like this fallen log, we become hosts for things “not us;” homes for the burdens and weariness of others, our dreams cramped for space by squatters and parasites.

No. Not me. Not yet. I can still turn the heads of construction workers in my black skirt and pullover sleeveless top, short boots and leopard print scarf flying. They get this goofy look, smile and wave. Nothing crude. At 53, this rubs my vanity the right way. I’m still in the sweet spot of age.

But I spent some time yesterday in a doctor’s waiting room. The elderly, limping, curved, confused, in-pain dear creatures I saw there made me think of this log. And they were beautiful to me.


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