Friday, July 10, 2009

Not whispering sweet somethings

Happy Friday! Boy, what a trip. My first words this morning were, "I love you." I wanted to make sure I said something good when I got to speak. That's a theme in and of itself. My rules were simple: no talking, and no entertainment media consumption. Oh, and no beer (that was the easiest part).

I'll tell you all about it over the next week or so, but I'm on my way out of town for a couple days, away from technology. But here's a sweet little something I rediscovered while cleaning my hard drive. It was written for Annie's blessing way, and her daughter, Korazon Pearl (whom I was lucky enough to witness entering this world) just turned one year old. And since I'm going out of town, in part, to celebrate the impending arrival of new spawn, it seems right. Though written for Anne & Korazon, here it's dedicated to B&D and the Zeppling about to appear.

Enjoy, and more soon.


Once there was a woman.

She was a good woman: pretty, smart, fiercely temperamental. One day, she wandered away from her village into the woods, where she met a beautiful stranger. The stranger called to her and she went; they danced in a clearing and laid down under the stars and whispering trees. In hindsight, she felt that the whispering trees might have been telling her to go back home, but that was hindsight, and it had been good for those moments on the forest floor with the beautiful stranger.

In the morning, the woman awoke alone and with a big, hungry belly. She had opened up to the beautiful stranger; during the night while she slept, a spirit had crept into her belly asking her to give it a body so that it might become a human and discover the mysteries and wonders of being a person. Surprised, the woman thought about it for a moment, and agreed. “Alright, spirit. You may live in my body for 3 seasons. But after that, you must come out here where I can see you, and we will finish growing you in the open air.” The spirit agreed, and the woman went home to tell her village.

Some in the village turned away from the woman. They were not ready to help a spirit in a new body learn to move through the world. Some in the village ran towards the woman, asking what they could do to help. Some quietly went about the business of getting the village ready to house another spirit in a body as it journeyed through the world. The woman spent time dancing and crying and screaming and redecorating and talking to the spirit in her belly, just like all crazy women who wander into the woods and lay down with strangers do when they find themselves unexpectedly hosting a hungry spirit in a big belly.

As days and nights tumbled over one another, moving time forward through space with their antics, the woman’s belly got bigger and bigger. The spirit in the woman’s belly became more accustomed to wearing skin, testing out the idea of being in a body by stretching and poking and punching the woman from the inside. The woman’s belly got so big that she was certain she would burst before the spirit ever decided to come see what the world looked like with its own, new eyes. The spirit laughed at the woman, telling her, “Don’t worry, mother woman. I have been here before; I have seen the world. But by the time I get outside, I will have forgotten much of what I know, which is why I need you—to help me remember, and to survive the remembering.”

The wise, cranky, itchy-bellied, woman smiled and patted her belly, saying, “Of course. And when I remind you, I will be remembering myself, and we will move through the world together. After all, if we wish to know the way ahead, we must ask those coming back.”

The spirit laughed, making the woman’s belly ripple from one hip to the other. It said, “By sharing the pain of my becoming, I will show you how strong you really are,” and took a nap.

A little while later, the spirit woke and knew it was time to leave the warm, dark comfort of the woman’s belly. The spirit still remembered that each new beginning is an ending of something else, and that’s always the way of things. The villagers walked with the woman to the gatehouse, where all beings come out of the previous world and into the present. The villagers faded into the trees, close enough to be there should the woman call, and far enough to give the woman room to expand into new life.

The woman walked around the gatehouse rubbing her lower back. She squatted low when the pains came, breathing the rich, fertile earth into her body and blood. She leaned against a tree when her legs grew tired, the world itself cradling her. She breathed deep. She panted shallow. She contracted. She expanded. When she had at last surrendered enough of the world she had known to make room for the new life to enter, the baby slid easily from her body, landing gently on the soft, welcoming earth. The woman removed her shirt, cleaning the child’s face and wrapping it close. She cradled the child in her arms watching it remember how to breathe while wearing a body. When the child inhaled deeply and let out a strong cry, the woman laughed and put a nipple in the child’s hungry mouth. The woman, the child and the entire universe breathed a deep, easy sigh of contentment, and everything kept moving right along, just as it has always been and will ever be until it isn’t anymore.


  1. I *love* this. May I send it to my niece who's expecting twins in the fall? -- Janet

  2. I had never seen/heard this story. It's quite beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. Hope you have a lovely weekend on the river.

  3. Wow--thanks, guys! Yeah, Janet--send away (with attribution, of course.) :)


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