Where we were.
Somewhere out there in the wind.
What were we there for?
Only in retrospect do we clearly see.
When at the time we may be lost in dark depths or blinded by brilliant light
Though sometimes there is foresight to cling to like a torch.
I knew before I went.
Along the way, maybe I lost sight. For a little while, at least. It is hard to see when you are in deep. Retrospect and a wild ride and the grounding love of my family and my tribe brought me back to center.
I’ll put this out there. Read it if you want. I’ll share what I can. I won’t expect you to read it all, though hope you’ll enjoy if you do.
What happened to the personal?
We’re too busy to take the time, make the time, a new set of priorities, an epidemic of cluttered time, personal value and social status placed on how busy we can appear.
We’ve got to the point where by if we put it out there, post it, we assume all will know. Maybe I don’t know. And no, I won’t assume. If you want me to know, write me. Personally. Crazy concept, I know. Old fashioned. You’ll find I usually write back. Likewise, if it matters that much to me, if I need you to know, I’ll write you too. Personally.
For I am learning maybe you’ll read this, maybe you won’t; maybe this is for you, and maybe this is just out there, for the general public, an entertainment service. You decide.
What was I there for?
The eternal powerful process.
Assisting, perhaps only observing
A woman through the greatest transformation of her own life.
Mother and child do the work while I hold tight to the burden and honor of bearing witness, and little more.
And then we let go, and leave the new life with that which is seemingly old and wise as ever a woman can be, all knowing and eternal and the most beautiful connection and spirit and energy and light, bonding of the truest love, and time no longer matters or can be told except the here and now of mother and baby in enduring bliss.
As midwife, the passage is not ours. Though we are there beside her, go there, deep, stand vigil, hold tight, strong, nurturing, bearing witness to the transformation of life, of girl to woman, primal and passionate movement, motion;, the tribal ritual; going down deep into the most intense space a woman can go. And then the instant creation of motherhood, vital love, this is what it’s all about. Everything. To be there, with her, if no more than watching over, and giving the gift of trust that she knows I will do all I can to ensure safe passage, see that she returns from that wild space no man may ever know, with a babe at her breast suckling. All so she can let go, and fully experience this enigmatic process.
As midwife, we serve as escort. The greatest of honors. The careful observer, at best empowering and encouraging and ensuring safe passage. If we can, for how much is beyond man and medicine, things they will never fully know, and the more I know the more I realize I don’t, but what can I do because this is not mine, it is her hers, what she wants, and it is natural, and it will happen, or it won’t, and what can we really do but trust.
This was not only intense (and at times, I reflect back and admit: a bit insane), it was intimate. Being there for another woman turned out to be even more intense that doing it myself. Back twenty something years ago when I birthed, my midwife had not been there before, and didn’t know how deep a woman can go. She was afraid. I scared her. It can be a frightening place, the depths that a woman can dive into. I am not afraid.
Diving deep… And not alone. And then, being certain of the unwavering strength and core belief in women; our collective body, mind and soul; and life and the primal, passionate act of birth. Belief in her, and in myself – strong enough to bring them back.
I can’t explain it better yet. If you’ve been there, you know. If you haven’t, go there. Somehow. Try.
How deep can you go?
Birth brings life so close to
death and we are hanging
on by tendons tied to some
as strong and sweet as a first breath.
Life changing. Life creating. The elemental woman’s Right of Passage. Primal, powerful, passionate, ecstatic. Yes, it can be. It is.
The intensity of a bath. The horse trough in the living room, beside the wood stove. Drinking spring water a degree above freezing. Sweating. Here so far from pavement, anything seeming like solid ground. In quiet laughter, we recall sweating in Buenos Aires. The purity of sweat; cleaning from the inside out. Raising the body temperature; cleansing the pores down deep from the soul. If I sweat, I don’t get sick. If I’m getting sick, I need to sweat. This is good medicine. Simple stuff. Old Man Brinker taught me that.
Sit back and sweat in the water by the wood stove…
It all comes back, rolls over me in a steamy embrace of hot water in a horse trough by the wood stove with my husband. I want a glass of wine, taste the sweet tart cool richness on my lips and in my throat, but know this is the last thing I really need. I’m already dizzy. It is the heat. The relaxation. The utter letting go.
Several moons ago. (Tonight I saw a sliver of a new moon tipped up like an empty bowl, waiting to be filled, or just having been emptied.)
Tomorrow will be a better day. Today I’m ready to cry. I don’t want to. I want to be strong and make it through this whole huge undertaking without breaking down and being all girlie like, you know? I can take it, tough it out like the guys and make it without a full day off, and I want to dress warm and play hearty and pretend the snow and wet and cold don’t bother me… but today they do. And I’m tired and I’m scared that we won’t get it done and I sort of just wish it was done and we could take a day off and talk about something besides logs.
As commitments unfold and plans become and the reality of all this work and time and money and fear of how hard it is on Gunnar and fear of my own unknowns and my dear friend’s birthing and how little I still know yet how much I innately trust… these things solidify, and yet I do not become stronger, but more confused. I don’t not want the adventure – and I don’t want to remain here for fear of trying something else. But I worry that I’m just spitting in the wind and will find the same discontentment there, everywhere… when really what I must be working on is the contentment in myself.
I fear I’m going down into a personal darkness and Now is not the time.
A time in between without boundaries. The fear of the un known. Nightmares of Gunnar, losing him, city streets, hearing him bark, knowing he is trying to find us; and waking fear of Rikki, worry for his coldness, loneliness, missing out on that which could have should have might have been but was missed of natural life for a wild being. Fear of my inability to write, or find a proper publisher, or… what is the purpose of writing if not to share my words?
And then. A new beginning.
It starts in the air. Most of the greatest adventures do. Often at night, flying though the endless black,
And then I was there.
And most days I wondered why.
Because I love and want
to give but sometimes give too much and am left with
Cold and harsh and biting,
Stripped naked and whipped, exposed
to the elements, beaten and broken down by
the earth and air and water that feeds me.
Too hot or too cold, and Gunnar’s broken foot
becomes my own shackles so I cannot
Is that the land I am meant to be attached to?
Or the people.
People. That is what matters most.
Intense. Yes. This is where we were.
I’m not ready to share the stories, not here, not now.
They are personal and private, though part of it should be shared. I want you to know. I want you to be there with me. You too may never be the same.
In the meanwhile, I am here, home, my wild white mountain and state of solitude and serenity. My husband and dog and goose on the deck and horses and crowing rooster in the morning and blinding white afternoons.
Don’t be afraid to go deep.
You must go where you have not been, and that place must be farther than you thought you could go. It may not be a pretty place. It may be harsh and raw and real. There is where you’ll find what you are seeking – that inner part of your self. The elusive secrets to the self, the soul, life. Only when you are truly lost, giving up and opening to guidance to get you out alive, only then will you understand direction.
If we don’t go deep we remain but on the still surface. Dive into the mud. You will find your way out. And in the meanwhile, you will learn to swim. Open your eyes and drink it in. You will not be alone – that is the biggest surprise. And sometimes, what you will find in those depths are the richest of waters. The waters of life.
Drink in the intensity.
And then, my friend, where will you go?
Not where you were yesterday.
But I may still be there. Or you will be. And no matter how deep we go, me or you, let’s promise each other this. We won’t leave each other too far behind. I’ll look for you, find you, and bring you back. Carry you, drag you, or walk by your side. Don’t forget that.
And if you truly believe that, you can go deep.
Because you know I’ll be there with you.
Or at the least, waiting for you with a big fat grin when you make it back.