I dreamed last night that I was in labor. There was quite a bit of ambivalence about this fact in my dream. At one moment I would think, "Well, it's close to my due date," and another moment I would grab my belly and think, "This is not big enough to be holding a full-term child," and then I would remember that I was sixty years old and think, "Hmmmm. Maybe this isn't a good idea," and so forth.
I never did give birth in that dream. I find it incredibly interesting and a powerful testament to the experience of having my children that I still sometimes dream that I am pregnant.
Or in labor, as the case may be.
I do not think that every woman on earth was put here to bear children and indeed, I feel that many who did would have been better off not doing so but I am glad that I did have children and more than glad that I was able to labor and give birth without medication or intervention or time tables or fetal heart monitors or any of the other things deemed so necessary by our culture these days.
In my dream, the baby was completely unexpected and someone asked what I was going to need because I had not prepared at all. I thought about it and said, "Some diapers, a few little shirts and some blankets."
And truly, even though I was in dream world, that is not far off from the basic necessities when a baby is coming when you get right down to it.
Our not-that-distant foremothers would be both appalled and astounded at all of the things we think we need to have on hand for newborns. I certainly am.
Ah well. We seem to think we need a lot of things for everything these days. Me included. But I like to believe (perhaps completely falsely) that I certainly could make do with far less if I had to.
I'd hate to give up my coffee maker though.
Ah well. I did not sit down to write about the massive amounts of crap we buy because we think we need it these days. To tell you the truth, I didn't sit down to write with anything in mind because this is mostly how it goes for me.
I will tell you that I spent some hours on my knees in the garden today and winter gardening is my favorite. The weeds are not abundant, are easy to pull, and the heat does not roast me and there are no mosquitoes. Even the red ants seem to be deeper underground with less tendency to find my tender flesh and bite, setting my skin on fire. So I weeded and then I planted the shallots and I doubt they'll do well because I just don't get enough sun on my garden and you can have the best dirt in the world and water appropriately and sing and dance for your plants (theoretically, at least) and tend them as if they were babies but without enough sunshine, they just don't thrive. But still- I do it mostly for the love of it. Me and my trowel and an old canning kettle with rusted holes in the bottom to throw the weeds in. It makes me happy. I threw the weeds to the chickens along with some of the yellowed leaves of the greens that I snipped off as I worked and my lovies clucked and scratched in them, as happy to have the fruits of my efforts as I was to make the effort under the winter sun, listening to my book. These are the days when I just feel so completely lucky. So absolutely fucking blessed. And despite my constant bitching about aging, the one thing I do truly like about being older is that it is so much easier to enjoy the smallest things in a life. The perfect temperature on a day spent in the garden. The red of a cardinal against the pink of a camellia. The paddling and quacking of two ducks in a tiny pond. The sight of a swept floor. The satisfaction of a made bed. The warmth of a sweater, the strength of the legs, the ability to still kneel and do my own sort of worship in the dirt.
The knowledge that there is someone who loves me who lives here. Who tells me he does so many times a day. The smell of baking bread, the sight of cooking greens, the observing of the chickens as they take their last bits of food for the day, scratching closer and closer to the hen house as the sun goes down.
I do not spend my life in waiting for the next big, good thing. There is not much of the feeling that life will begin when...
I lose twenty pounds, we go on a vacation, we build our house in Apalachicola, I get a new hair cut.
Whatever those things were that I used to feel that I was living for.
The prospect of things yet undone is not what sustains me any more. The reality of what is sustains me now. This is not to say that I do not hope to experience more, to travel, to be able to fit into my jeans better, to someday take my coffee on the dock of our house overlooking the Apalachicola Bay. It just means that I know that I am living my life right this second and if there is pleasure to be found in this second, I want to savor every bit of whatever sweetness may be found in it.
There is a certain wisdom in the slowing of the body, the slowing of the life, the realization of the rich fullness of it, just as it is.
Well. Maybe that's what I sat down to write about. Not babies or dreams at all. And yet, dreams of babies are something to be pondered, to smile about.
As are so many things.
I think it's time to get the cards out. Mr. Moon always wins. It doesn't even bother me anymore. It used to. But now I simply love the silliness of it all. The slap of the cards, the prospect of the hand, the writing of the score in the notebook with a pen I love. The curses we come up with which make us both laugh.
Here we are. Let us take it all as best we can, appreciating what we can, taking immense comfort in the knowledge that for now, we are here, and there is much to enjoy.