posted by Lisa Thompson on 4:01 PM link | comments 
Last night I dreamt that we were always in sight of a tall mountain, and that this peak was responsible for keeping moisture away, and for keeping us warm.
I've woken up to a world of moisture.
I'm told that I should go to Abbott's Lagoon--that many shorebirds have arrived and that the lagoon is phat with birds. If I'm still here tomorrow, I'll go to see them, but I knew that shorebirds were coming in several days ago. I saw a solitary spotted sandpiper on the beach after my swim. I had missed it, (I like to think it's the same one who was hanging out here earlier in the year).
The things these birds have seen, the distance they've travelled--yet they stand here as if they've always been right here. As if you only imagined that they'd been gone for a season. As if it were yesterday that the sandpiper stood on the shore until I walked just so close that it would flit a bit further up the beach, and stay there until I came that close again, when he'd again find another rock outcropping, or spit of sand from which to forage.
I'll be leaving here at any moment. I'm waiting for my sister-in-law's labor to get underway, and then I'll throw my things into my truck (checklist by the door) and try to reach the hospital in Laguna Beach before the baby is born. I want to be there to greet little Ashton or Sophia or Isabelle. I'm full of wonder at the prospect of new human life, and at the profound optimism and courage it takes to bring a child forth, unclothed and with an uncertain destiny.
So many people have children. And I wonder, do they all think they're prepared to guide that child into its right humanity? Maybe that's why most people have children at a young age. Maybe then it's easier to believe that you'll do a better job than your parents have, or maybe then it's easier not to worry about the implications of parenthood quite as much.
Or perhaps it's not so much a matter of doing anything right. Perhaps it's enough to want that new life, to want a family around you, and to do your best. After all, we've all been marked by our parents, it's their job to mark us. And I'm grateful for either the bravado or the instinct that drove mine to have me and my brother. Life is worth having. Actually, I'm hoping that we get more than one shot at it.
posted by Lisa Thompson on 7:46 AM link | comments 
Bridge from the Other World
Amongst Bedouins, certain men are the coffee grinders. They awake before the rest of their tribe and using a large mortar and pestle, grind the morning coffee with a deep rhythmic beat. The others lie in their beds, allowing the rhythms to hold their dreams in place so they can be remembered and brought up into the waking world. When the coffee is ready, they arise, and tell each other their dreams and sip the hot coffee.
posted by Lisa Thompson on 8:51 AM link | comments 
Last night, I heard Barbara Gates, author of Already Home: A Topography of Spirit and Place read from her memoir. I've just begun to read it, drawn by the obvious affinity of topic. She lives in the Berkeley flats, and explores the geologic and cultural history of the area, as she deepens her presence to the experience of living there while learning to accept her mortality after a breast cancer diagnosis.
She spoke about a practice she developed during difficult times of "lying on the earth".
I love this idea. The earth can rejuvenate and heal. She can comfort and hold. She can remind us where our bodies come from, and where they will return. Gates also spoke about the shellmound that predated her neighborhood and existed for almost 5,000 years. It was not only a burial ground for Ohlone ancestors and the shells of the food that sustained them, it also served as the platform for their community. We need to practice lying on the earth because we no longer have that kind of connection to our lineage, and to the visceral reminders of our impermanent but necessary perch on the bones of our ancestors.
posted by Lisa Thompson on 7:18 AM link | comments 
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