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I remember as a child riding my bike down our sunny street in and out of the shade of the oldest trees on the block. I was having fun. I went a little farther than I had been before, pushing my newly expanded boundaries beyond the smoothly paved street of our subdivision. I was stretching my world; I peddled around the corner toward the older farm houses. Feeling that I had gone far enough I turned into a drive way to head back. With a suddenness that exceeded my understanding I was laying face down on a gravel driveway, blood dripping from my knees, wrists, and palms.
The neighbor who lived in the old farm house heard my cries, with compassion and care took me and my bike home.
My mother sat me down and looked at my abrasions. She told me that we were going to have to get all of the gravel out of them, and then we were going to have to clean the wounds. My mother loved me deeply, and as carefully as possible removed the gravel and washed my wounds with soap and warm water. The cleaning of those wounds hurt far worse than receiving them. The wounding had happened in an instant, but the cleaning took a long time. The already intense pain was now punctuated by the even worse pain of the gravel being removed, and then agony of the gentle scrubbing to remove the dirt. I remember asking my mother if we couldn't just leave the dirt and the gravel. She explained to her child that the skin would not heal, and that I would likely get an infection if we