Tuesday, July 26, 2011

While wedged between Josiah and his sister, some of my dreads brushed against him and he told me he doesn't like how they feel. They are hard, he said. Like a wrecking ball. I almost died. Where does he come up with this stuff?

I love dancing on the beach at sunset in a twirly airy skirt with the kids and my sister. I love burrowing my feet into the sand at the bottom of the lake. I love eating watermelon (with seeds in it! It's been ages since I've seen a watermelon with seeds in it.) on a blanket on the sand and seeing who can shoot the slippery seeds the furthest by pinching them between our fingers.

I found a small round smooth stone at the beach in Port Elgin. It is lovely and perfect for keeping in a pocket to feel when necessary.
A perfect size - small.
A perfect shape - round.
A perfect texture - smooth.

The cottage is built on the side of a hill among a forest of cedars. The tall slender trunks sway perpetually in the wind. Back and forth. The early evening sunlight reaches into the kitchen from across the lake, slanting among the branches of those tall swaying cedars, casting playful shadows and sending flecks of light dancing softly and silently across the deck, the floors, the kitchen table. The light of summer. Nostalgic memories. Playing to the tune of Coldplay's Parachutes. All that I know, there's nothing here to run from. 'Cause yeah, everybody here's got somebody to lean on. We live in a beautiful world. Yeah we do, yeah we do.

Rain pounded on the roof, directly under which I am laying in bed up in the loft. Thunder in the distance. I was hoping for an overhead storm, whose lightning I could watch through those cedar branches. No such luck, and I fell asleep quickly, despite the drumming above my head.

This morning I wanted to go for an early morning swim by myself at the dock. Though it wasn't actually very early, it was the first thing I did when I got up. I mentioned this to Dad as I was leaving the cottage, and he insisted on coming with me, saying I shouldn't swim alone. I was kind of annoyed, because I'm not a child, and I WANTED to swim alone. I was looking forward to the solitude. I'm not a terribly strong swimmer, but I'm confident I can look after myself. It's a small lake with calm waters, not very deep by the dock. But come with me he did, and when I coaxed him to feel how warm the water was in contrast to the cool windy air, he decided to jump in as well. In his shorts and underpants. It made me giggle, and in the end I was happy that I got to share a quick swim with my dad in the chilly morning.

Amanda tossed a pebble at the turtle sunning himself on a rock, because we wanted to see him move. Her aim was a little too good (or not very good, depending on how you look at it), and she nailed him precisely on the top of his shell. He immediately moved off the rock and slid beneath the green sludge on the surface and we all laughed because we were trying only to startle the turtle, not actually hit him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two sisters curled up next to each other on the bed. The older in labour, the younger a comforting presence, holding her hand, whispering encouragement in her ear. It's the middle of the night, the lights are low. The midwives are sipping coffee.

A newly made father unable to speak, turning away as he wipes his eyes with the back of his hand.

A woman on the mattress in the corner, her back arched, arms over her head, hands against the wall for resistance as she pushes down the bed to birth her baby. Her face contorted with the effort, her body an astonishing and awe-inspiring picture of sheer power. "I am woman, hear me roar." It's the first time I've seen someone use her arms and the wall like that for pushing.

Three sleepy older siblings coming into the room while wiping sleep from their eyes, awakened in the wee hours to greet their brandnew brother.

Eyes lit up at the sound of that first listen to the heart beat. The rhythm quick, transmitted through flesh and gel and plastic by doppler. Months before anyone will meet this little person.

These are glimpses. It's moments like this that remind me why I want to do this. When I am feeling discouraged and incompetent and inadequate and exhausted and wondering if it's all really worth it and if I'm really cut out for this work.

I sometimes feel like I'm intruding on intimate moments, like I have no right to be there. I am an outsider. But birth is beautiful, women are strong, and I want to be a part of it. How is it that I get to be a part of this and bear witness to such wonderful moments?