When Sleep Won’t Come

It seems as if the creating phase of any venture lends itself to both excitement and worry. Am I making the right decisions? Should I have done it this way? What if…? are all questions my head will flip and squish and analyze from every angle all night long.

And as the project nears completion, when there is less to be done but also less that can be changed, the stress builds. Continue reading “When Sleep Won’t Come”

November

Two months in and most days we still ride together as a family to drop the kindergartner off at The Angle’s one-room school house. She loves it, doesn’t want to leave afterward and calls every one of her classmates her friend. As we were getting into the truck on that first day back in early September, she was a bubbling mass of excitement and told us as she hefted her new backpack up onto the seat that it was “the importanest day” of her life.

Her papa’s eyes met mine and we both smiled.

We have only one more month of this pregnancy and solo time with her, though it often doesn’t quite yet feel real that we’ll be adding another person to the family. I hold my belly and wonder if losing a baby in the past does that to everyone. I’m in love and excited, yet I’m also well aware that anything could go wrong. Our little one isn’t out of the woods yet. I’ve also had the fleeting feeling that I should get my own affairs in order; women die in childbirth all the time and the grim statistics seem to find their way to me despite my not wanting to even think about it.

Has loss made me a pessimist? Or a realist?

Or will it make this new love for this new being even that much sweeter?

I hop out of the truck a mile from our house and get in my cold morning walk while he continues on to town. It’s not far and I go slowly, focusing on the muscles of my hips, abdominals and hamstrings. My joints and ligaments are stretched and feel loose now, ready for the birth.  I’ve been saying all along that the baby’s coming early and will see the light of day well before his December 12th due date.

Secretly, I’ve hoped he’ll be born under the Scorpio sign of November like me. But, I had also hoped once upon a time that my Iris would be left-handed like me. When she showed clear signs of right-hand dominance very early, I tempered any disappointment by remembering the myriad ways she’ll have it easier being right-handed in a right-handed world.

Still, November feels special to me. It’s a serious month, one of endings and transition, cold days and colder nights, morning skim ice on creeks and shorelines. The dark hours grow longer and the smell of woodsmoke flavors my morning walks. The fall colors are usually at their end and the temperatures plummet as the determined rifle hunters take to the trees. November ends with a focus on gratitude in our Thanksgiving holiday before making way for the mirth and merriment of the Christmas season.

Somewhere in all of that, my body will bring a baby into the world. I pray for his safety and a peaceful, easy arrival. I pray for the world he’ll be born into, with its great divides and fear-wrought masses. The bad guys are indeed winning right now, even though they’re the voting minority, but I pray that much will change before he has eyes and ears for the business of our social climate.

I pray for you reading this, that November will be a month of warmth and inner growth. That you’ll hold close the promise of spring through another northern winter. That you’ll find comfort in gratitude for all that you already have.

For me, the prenatal depression of the late summer months has lifted and the joy of all this change is finally making its way through the hardened cracks to my wary heart. I feel … Happiness, and then I second-guess myself that it could possibly even be that.

I pray for everyone’s happiness. I pray for the lifting of fear in all regards.

These are anguishingly hard times for many, and yet I know we’ll see them through. I know everything works out perfectly, even when we don’t get to define what “perfect” is.

I know this November, this cold and serious November will be exactly what it is supposed to be. And I pray for the wisdom to see it as such, come what may.

Column 108 belly photo
Photo by Sophie Butler

(Published November 6 in the Warroad Pioneer)

The Shape of Darkness

When the power goes out, as it does fairly often here at The Angle, the darkness, or rather the small light in the darkness brings the family together. Whatever disparate activities we were all up to, they are put on pause, and we find our way to each other and start the familiar hunt for candles, the lantern, flashlights and headlamps.

First, it’s an adventure. And then, when we have our more primitive lights on, for whatever reason, we always ride out the darkness together. Continue reading “The Shape of Darkness”

The Song and Dance of Fall

(Published September 4th in the Warroad Pioneer)

We danced our way into Fall on a recent rainy weekend. During a midday downpour, the five-year old and I stripped down, ran out into the chilly-at-first rain and danced in the grassy puddles with our hands and faces to the sky. It was earthy, delicious, giggling fun, and we twirled and sang until we were as soaked as river moss.

She starts school this week and will be the only kindergartner in our one-room school house. There’s no preschool at The Angle, so this first day of school is her legitimate first. Continue reading “The Song and Dance of Fall”

I Didn’t Know

We don’t know where the day will end up when we open our eyes to it. We don’t know how our lives will go even as we make our plans and pray our prayers. We don’t know where stories will lead, where roads will take us, or even where our own thoughts will meander. Continue reading “I Didn’t Know”

Memories and Legacies

 

It had been a rather perfect evening weather-wise.  The heat of the day resignedly gave way to a light breeze and a cloud cover that lowered the thermometer just enough. We sat at long picnic tables, plates full of potluck food and the sizzle of frying fish in the background. It was the first all-camp fish fry of the summer season and it felt special, a touch magical. Continue reading “Memories and Legacies”

Paying Heed

Sometimes you have to stop everything and listen to the wisdom of the winds and the wild things and the five-year old’s.

I stood on the top of the kitchen crossbeam, my hands braced on a log rafter, scrubbing the fish-fry grease that had floated, landed, and collected dust for all of last summer’s resort season. The gray water dripped down my wrist and collected in my sweatshirt. With one hand dirty and the other securing my precarious balance, a nose itch or hair in my eye had to be meditated away. “Clean the logs” was my only agenda. With my perch, even thinking wasn’t a wise distraction.

But then my Iris, in her five-year-old exuberance about bird nests and first dandelions and pretty rocks from the gravel road, came running loudly into the cabin. Continue reading “Paying Heed”