Barbed Wire
Written by
Mary Krakow
June 2015
Written by
Mary Krakow
June 2015


     Sliding through thin strands of barbed wire was a skill I acquired at a young age. In fact, my sister and I used to race to see who could shimmy through the fastest. My house was at the end of a cul-de-sac and the Perhams ran cattle behind us.

     A small drainage ditch that met up with the creek separated our properties. We didn’t let that or the barbed wire fencing deter us. I’m not sure who taught us to carefully pinch the strands and pull them apart but we expertly widened the opening for each other to squeeze through. There was an art to holding your body perfectly horizontal so as not to snag your clothing on a barb. On most fences the strands were the same distance from the ground and equally spaced from each other. The nonconforming fences were the ones that scratched our ankles or pricked our backs.

     Running free as a child taught me to take calculated risks. Barbed wire, grazing cattle, and poison oak were obstacles that educated me on the importance of agility, alertness, and avoidance.

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