I have this scar on the back of my left arm; it’s about an inch long and about a quarter inch wide. I remember clearly the day I got it. I was at my grandparents in the countryside. My grandfather and I were walking back home from his sister’s house and we stopped by our vegetable garden. As he picked some vegetables and put them in a bag, I climbed this Mirabelle plum tree as they were in season and proceeded to pick my own crop. Once he was done, I tried to get down, slid on the tree trunk, and the back of my arm got caught in a thorn from a blackberry bush that was growing at the bottom of the tree. I was wearing a pink sweatshirt and when I saw it didn’t tear, I imagined it was just a scratch. As we started walking back, my grandfather and I were both carrying the bag of vegetables and I felt something tickling my palm. I thought it was some random bug, but when I looked down my palm was full of blood and the entire sleeve of my sweatshirt was covered in blood. There was no hospital around to stitch it up so I spent the next two weeks caring for the wound disinfecting it, changing bandages, helping it heal Dr.Quinn Medicine Woman – style. The next two weeks were actually more painful than the moment the wound happened.
Looking back I can recount the entire story, I can see it vividly in my head, but what I really remember is not the pain…the pain somehow dissipated once the physical wound started healing. What I remember is the endless walks I would take with my grandfather in the village, stopping by relatives and neighbors, climbing fruit trees, eating Mirabelle plums, cherries, or mulberries, picking corn and bringing it back home to roast, chasing turtles in the forest. The other thing I remember is that the day after I got hurt, my grandfather went back to the vegetable garden to cut down the blackberry bush and made a makeshift step over the fence so it would be easier for me to go up and down the tree.
Maybe when someone looks at that scar on my arm, they only see the pain behind it, but for me, that scar reminds me of a “timeless” time, when I was about 10 years old, my grandparents were still alive, I spent the summer with them, while my brother was taking his exam to get into high school, and I was so loved that my grandfather went back the day after I got hurt and cut down the entire “source” or my pain.
What do your scars remind you of? Can you find the happy memories behind your scars?