Inward I Go

My energy is shifting, pulling inward towards quiet and rest.  I am peaceful as I move slowly, as I walk down to the greenhouse to seed and water, as I sit in the doorway and look out at the mountains.

Inward, inward I go, finding it harder to listen to the stories of others, feeling a need to speak only of my experience now, unable to graciously stay interested in conversations that shift to comparisons as friends and family tell me they know how I feel.  I don’t have the space for the stories of others–I am filled with baby now, and the only story I want to hear is one that is not yet written, one that moves without words and teaches me to speak with my breath instead: out and in, down and up, empty and full.  Each moment brings the lesson of contraction and expansion, quietly preparing me for the waves of birth.


Please Don’t Touch My Belly

Pregnant Katie SpringJust under two weeks away from my due date, and tonight I’m feeling agitated.  Mosquitoes suddenly showed up in droves inside the yurt, and my hands are beginning to hurt from slapping them together with the force of an insect death trap.  We’ve got the fan on high to keep them at bay, and after over an hour of constant slapping, it seems almost safe to say we are back to a normal number.  It’s also safe to say I am overly frustrated in general today.  It happens like that, some days I wake up and know my emotions are running high and I’ll cry at least twice, while other days I wake up and any little thing has the ability to elicit an immediate frustration response.  Mostly these days are separated by a few weeks, and all the other days in between are good, great, wonderful.  But for now, let me get a few things out of my system…

I am seriously considering boycotting the farmers market until after my baby is born.  Edge and I drop off CSA shares there each weekend, and it is amazing the amount of people who immediately touch my belly without permission.  I’d say about 2% of people even ask, and the rest just go right in and rub directly over my belly button, which is the most sensitive part of my belly and hurts when it’s rubbed.  Last weekend I finally realized I could get my hands over my belly before an acquaintance could get theirs on it, thereby giving me some protection.  The acquaintances are the hardest to deal with–I’ve had a hard time finding a way to tell people not to touch me, and at least with close friends and family I can just flat out say it without worrying about sounding polite.  To be honest, most of the time I don’t mind if people I love touch my belly, but how does being pregnant give others automatic permission to rub an intimate spot on a person’s body?  A pat on the shoulder is fine, a hug is welcome, but would you go up to anyone else and start touching their stomach?  If I get up enough courage, the next time someone who hardly knows me touches my belly, I’m going to take that as permission to touch theirs right back and give them a good rub while remarking on how their belly looks.

Woo.  That felt good.  Thanks for listening.  I guess when it comes down to it, that really is my sole grievance.  It has been difficult at times to look out at the garden and see so many things I want to help with, but know that physically I am not able to do them right now–no broadforking, raking, making beds, making compost piles…even pulling old successions and getting beds ready for new ones is exhausting and uncomfortable, but I have enjoyed slowing down.  It’s been at least five years since I was able to soak in the heat of summer without working out in the field tending to crops or moving animals (okay, I am tending crops and moving animals still, but on a much more relaxed level–Edge has been taking care of the daily chores on his own since June).  I’m taking naps, going swimming, writing in my journal a lot, and learning the movements of the stars at night, which is one blessing of waking up so much to pee.  I’m in the final stretch, and sometimes it feels like it could be any day, though it could still be a few weeks.  The mystery of it all is one thing that will never go away, and that is okay with me.  It makes slowing down, breathing and noticing the stars that much more enticing, as if I will get a little closer to the answers even as I delve deeper into the questions.

So the rant is over, and I feel calmer.  Three more mosquitoes down in the last minute, and I think it’s time for sleep.

Inside, my baby is nestled, getting ready to tell me when it’s time.

Someday, Today

It’s been two and a half weeks, I know, and it’s only May.  The farm is not supposed to pull me away from the blog this soon.  But in truth, it’s not just the farm.  It’s my tired eyes asking for a sabbatical, a vacation away from screens.  It’s my hands and the pen and my journal, asking to loop ink across the page while I sit tucked in bed, or on the front stoop looking out across the field, or at the kitchen table where our only lamp sheds light at night.  And it’s my growing baby, pushing out at my stomach, stretching my skin as a little foot traces a half circle from within, making me pause and lay longer in each moment, my hands resting on my belly so I may feel the movement on both sides.

With all my intentions to blog each week, I find it hard sometimes.  The internet is such a distraction in my life.  When I sit down to write at an empty screen, I find myself checking email, facebook, any number of websites, until I realize how long it’s taken me to get down to the point, and then I think of Edge in the field prepping garden beds or moving sheep.  I think how I must check the chickens’ water bucket and the starts in the seed house.  I look up and tell myself that today I will finally wash the pile of dishes sitting on the floor–yes, the floor–of the yurt.  This is why writers need a different place to be.  To throw away the easy distractions.  To be honest, I’m writing this at work, where the phones are so slow that this blog itself has become a distraction from the slowness of the day.

Someday I will build myself a writing cabin on the edge of the field.  I won’t have internet access there, just windows looking out toward the Worcester range, bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling, scrap paper and post-it notes stuck to the wall filled with quotes and ideas that I jot down as inspiration, a small wood stove and a tea kettle.  Someday.

But this is today.  And this is what I have: time.  Time to fill with distractions or with creativity or with nothing at all.  I have fingers to type and to write with, hands to make tea and plant seeds and to carry my journal into the world wherever I may go.  I have this world, or this world has me, and I am here, and someday I will be sitting in a writing cabin feeling distracted and decide that I need to open the door and go out into the trees and to explore.

Living In The Space Between

This is April: snow storms and sun, freezing rain and a weekend thaw, a precarious balance between hibernation and re-emergence into the world as spring comes, then slips away, and slowly comes back again.

I feel like a seed struggling to sprout.  Though all the ingredients are offered–water, sunlight, warmth–it seems it takes weeks to crack the shell and work a shoot up through the soil. Last season I flowered, through the winter I tucked in quietly among the snow, and now I pray that I will germinate.  April is not just a balancing act for seeds, but for us as a farm and family as well.  It is when we are spending money and relying on more people to sign up for our CSA, it is the last month of my full time job before I go to part time and devote more of myself to the workings of the farm, it is when I cross the bridge from second to third trimester and walk ever closer to the birth of our baby.  For now I am living in the space between questions and answers, the space, as my midwife says, where divinity lives.

I have doubts, but I have persistence, too.  I must be a parsley seed.  It takes so long to sprout that I almost give up on the whole tray until the first seedlings push ever so slightly at the soil and remind me of the strength that patience requires.  I tell myself: if I am a seed, all I have to do is to know that every potential is inside me.  I tell myself: the life that is easy is not necessarily the one that brings me alive.

I am living in the space between the questions and the answers.  Some days I cry in a swell of emotion.  Some days I am steady.  Some days wildness fills me and pulls me to the forest where so much life is waking up.  I don’t know if I will ever get to the answers, but like a seed I persist, for I fiercely believe in this earth.  I believe in the goodness of the world, in the tenacity of the world, in the connections that keep us alive.  Like a seed I persist, pushing up at the soil, working my way toward the sun.