I often see my life as a steaming pile of excrement. I really do. And when this happens, I always take a trip to the pastures. There’s nothing like the pungent stench of hot manure to take your mind off your own shit. Seeing the Black Angus still standing on all fours is kind of cool too. 

I also like the barbed wire. Pricking your fingers or snagging your shirt on barbed wire is underrated. The pricking is good for the simple pain, and the snagging is good for the ego: it gives you a sense of being wanted when the barbs tug on your clothes, almost as if they’re saying, “Hey! I like you! Don’t go!”

But the big draw is really the manure. The dark, sticky manure. It’s everywhere. As I walk along the fence and swat the barbed wire just enough to conjure those perfect little red droplets on my fingertips, the manure clings to my soles like misshapen pancakes. I’ve never eaten a shit pancake, but it’s something I might consider. 

Anyway, the point is when you walk along that fence, and get knocked around by the aroma, you notice the thick-stemmed dandelions and buttercups and all the green and yellow vegetation that just thrives in manure. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder beautiful things grow out of shit. Voltaire said, “Cultivate your own garden.” What I think he really meant was we’re all piles of hot manure out of which beauty can flourish under the right conditions. 

I always go home with blood streaks beneath my eyes like war paint. And I feel better.

Mel Bosworth has work published or forthcoming in elimae, Shoots and Vines, decomP, Ruthie's Club, and more. He lives and breathes in
Western Massachusetts. Read more at his website:


Copyright 2009