All through the long long day

black and white

All through the long long day, we waited.  And my stepdaughter labored.  There was laughter, and movie quotes in the beginning. We watched “Horton hears a Who”. I watched her husband holding her hand and watched as he kissed her cheek during the long and painful procedures.  I worked hard to preserve her dignity as the day went on and on.  Mainly because I would have wanted it that way, not necessarily because she was worried.  I thought often of the long line of women stretching back into the past who had done the same thing, as my stepdaughter,  but without the medical aid available to her.  I’m not going to lie, I thought of the “Red Tent” and how wonderful that sisterhood was in times like this.

Her labor was so utterly physical that I wondered how I had ever done the same thing.  I watched her eyes mostly.  Alert to panic or worry.  I watched the nurses’ and doctors faces’ listening to what they said and didn’t say. I sat and watched as they were both able to take a nap, she and her husband,  so glad that they were resting for the long night ahead. I watched her Dad quietly working away in the corner.  There for his daughter but out-of-the-way for her privacy.

I rubbed lavender on her swollen hands and feet. I noticed as evening fell and lengthened how her exhaustion made everything worse.  I could literally feel her doubt of being able to go on for much longer although she never once voiced it. I watched her being brave in the face of exhaustion and pain and how she smiled and said “Thank you” to every single wonderful staff member no matter how badly she felt or how sick.   And then the doctor made a decision for C-section.

I watched and waved and smiled as they took her away.  Keeping my tears away until she turned the corner.  Her Dad and I sat in the waiting room and got the welcome news that we had a grandson.  At four in the morning, our long day was over.  But theirs have just begun.

I’ve told all of our children a hundred times “you will never know what this is like until you do it”.  This amazing and terrifying journey of parenthood cannot ever be known from the outside.  The long days and nights are just beginning and dang it’s a hard job.  But a worthwhile one.  And this little baby boy is here to remind us of so many things…my husband lost his Dad earlier this year and as the year wore down that loss is brightened by the birth of our grandson, our journey as parents ourselves are brought back around to us again with the blessing of revisions where needed and hard won lessons to pass on to the next generation.  From now on our family will be reminded at Christmas all over again of the birth of a child.  And it has occurred to me…no matter what religious beliefs you hold…that this story,  this story of life, is one that should be repeated and held onto…because it’s the only important thing really. Merry Christmas from our growing family to you and your family!

Bear the courage to live with an Open heart

Bear Courage

I was thinking yesterday as I taught class at the club….about open hearts.  It’s noticeable in the posturing and negativity of a lot of teenagers that they are protecting their hearts fiercely.  They believe and have been taught not to show their vulnerability to anyone.  In fact they don’t even realize that it points straight to a weakness in the way that they avoid showing any feelings at all.  The uniformity of “non-feeling” is shocking at first, until you begin to get used to it, and understand what causes it.  And that is where we are after three years of working together.  So each class, in small little ways I chip away at the shield.  Hoping against hope to get a glimpse of feeling in their work as young artists.  Sometimes I’m wildly successful, more often I am not.  Most frustrating to me is the class after the one that was successful lol.  Because I truly hope that I’ve finally battered away all the protections and we can really begin something amazing together.  I’m almost always aware on those days of being naïve in the context of their lives.  But we continue on because the alternative is for me to lose my courage.  So most days I try to hold a space where I can mirror an open heart to them.  For them. Most days.



Here on this mountain

the chains of the possible bind and tangle

with dead apple branches, leaves and skeletal equipment.

Pockets that return from the field with the same amount that was in them to begin with

while bills flutter and flap like worn out blinds.

In the undistinguishable distance I am confronted with endless prodigal sleep

And here on this mountain now

ravens circle and argue their way into dreams and days

fighting over the scarred and blighted dreams of our summer

These perfect and private things

are realities

and all things are one thing to this earth

Here on my mountain.

-Fonda Clark Haight


She Howls…


Worshipping at many alters

“Worshipping at many alters”

“There is a wild one inside the womb of every woman.
A soul traveled on the branches of a placenta
into existence.

And Oh. She Howls.

She fights the deep fight in her way within our community. On the edges, usually quiet, often mistaken.

It’s not that she is not wild. She is just not wild in the same way. Which, is in essence, the truth of wildness. Isn’t it?

So before we give her howling lessons, before we say she is too wild or not wild enough. Before we divide ourselves any further than we already are. Recognize that We. All. Howl. Each of us In our way. At our own Moons.

Let her love God and wear Jesus on her arm. Let her chant the om shanti and bend her body into ways only your fingers can mimic. Let her lift weights and cross fits along with oceans of soul to find her strength. Let her dance naked against the fire on a full moon as you dance naked in front of a full congregation of fiery opinions. Let her create in her own way as you do in yours.

The same fight. The fight of the feminine, the fight of the nurtured, the loved, the passionate, the creative.

She creates altars of a lived life. Evidence of paying attention. Bones and stones, feathers and potions, roasted chicken and root vegetables.

She may not color her hair, but her opinions. She may not lay ink on her arm, but only the page.

Let her be wild in her way.
Before you consider her quiet and broken. Before you think her weak and unoriginal or lazy, especially that.
Let her be, In her way.
Before you try to mend or mold or school her into your way of Be-ing
Let her be.

Because I promise, whether or not you know
Whether or not anyone notices

Oh, She Howls.
Do not mistake her.”