Essay Lost In The Forest

It turned out Dan had three mangled fingers, a cracked knuckle and a fractured wrist. Benny had seen Dan scalding his hand in the bathroom that night. “I’m scared shitless,” he told his coworkers on a smoke break outside the hangar. I tell what I know in neat stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.The stories link together like chapters covering my father’s fifty-four years.And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

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I met her in New York, we married, and eventually we came back to her home country to raise our child close to nature.

Most early autumn weekdays are quiet; we are the only full-time residents, and potential day-trippers are at work, far away from us.

I’m neither a vandal nor a thief, but a scavenger—that was my justification. He’d been foraging with his sister when they were separated on the way back to their car.

I planned to play dumb, pretend I didn’t know the law. There stood an old man, breathless, gripping a ten-gallon bucket half-full of assorted mushrooms. In Lithuania, to get lost while picking mushrooms is a common enough occurrence to have its own word: nugrybauti.

I imagined an impatient forest ranger had come to inquire about where I had collected the wood to build my haystack frame.

Taking wood or otherwise disturbing the trees is prohibited, but I’d only gathered a few dead pines that hadn’t rotted yet. He told Simona he’d gotten lost around Debeikiai, about ten kilometers away, just off the main road.To overlay the literal experience with the figurative meaning: while relating a tale, one slides into strange territory by following choice clusters of cognitive associations, then becomes struck with panic that the way back is forever lost, only to stumble out somewhere familiar. He always had a ready excuse for missing that final shift: He was sick; his car broke down; he had to take his ailing mother to the hospital. ” “Hurt like a motherfucker.” “Shit.” “Now I’m sitting in the car, real fucking tears, and my hand’s a pulp.Eventually the foreman summoned Dan to his office with a final warning: Miss another Friday shift and Dan was gone. There was a huge shindig Dan had to attend; he was vital to the cause. The boss gets in and takes one look and says, ‘Holy shit! ’ ‘Broke my fucking hand,’ I said, ‘like I told you.He completed an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, and his nonfiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.He splits his time homesteading with his wife and son in the forest in Lithuania, and teaching at Green School in Bali, Indonesia.I can’t work with a hand that might be broke.” “You shouldn’t drive with a broken hand, either,” the foreman said. I’m getting dizzy from the pain.’ Asshole laughs at me, but he unlocks the car and tells me to wait. There were the mundane letters my father had sent home to family; his citations and awards; the transcript from when he was court-martialed for going AWOL after his tour; and his juvenile record from the Freeport Police Department, typewritten on an index card.“I’ll take you in my car.” He walked Dan out to the parking lot, then left him there a moment while he went back to the hangar for his wallet. After an absence, Dan came back to work with a story. It detailed three offenses, starting with “suspicious children” in 1963 and ending with “auto theft” in 1965, when he was sixteen years old—the offense that ultimately landed him in the US Marines as, at his father’s urging, he made a deal with a county judge to sign up in exchange for having the criminal charges dropped. He is fascinated by the life of his grandfather, who died two years before his birth.He sulked and fretted all week, but showed up on Friday in good spirits—a complete turn-around. I think I broke a couple fingers.” That’s not what happened at all: in the bathroom, Dan had run scalding water over his hand to make it appear injured. But then he says he forgot his wallet in the hangar. Now it’s all swollen.’ He got me to the hospital quick.” Joe, the new custodian, asked Dan how he’d had the nerve to bust his own hand like that.Then, at about 11 pm, Dan came to the foreman cradling his left hand. It burned red, but the pain was worth a good excuse to cut out early. “Well let me get it checked out and see what a doctor says. He turns to go back, so I say to him, I say, ‘At least unlock the car so I can sit. Unlike most of the other men on the night shift, Joe had not served in Vietnam. “Situation like that, you just do what you gotta do.” Sitting at my own kitchen table in the forest late one night, where I was revising a story about a son haunted by his father’s war trauma, my son interrupted to ask about the documents spread before me.“I think that guy was drunk,” Oskar said when we pulled away. ” After running through a few scenarios, we decided Dan would most likely climb the tallest tree he could find, in his attempt to gain an eagle’s-eye view of the terrain.He’d fall out of the tree and make a splint with the branch that took the journey down with him. ” I thought about my father, wounded in his own way, lost in a tangle of unfinished tales that circled around the forest of his past—nugrybaujant and drunk at the kitchen table at two in the morning, trying to find the way out of the darkness.


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