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Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?


this is my woodchuck, known locally as a groundhog. they're members of the marmot family. she has 4 babies, now about half as big as her. they live in my ReStore yard. i think i'm going to have a contest to name her and her tribe. i usually spot her in the evenings, after the store is closed, and people aren't wandering all over her yard. most of the heaps of stuff that used to cover the yard are gone now, so she doesn't have as many places to hide as she once did, but she doesn't seem to mind too much. i wonder if she likes carrots....?

Friday, June 12, 2009

they're not all happy endings

Oprah and others of that ilk love to sensationalize reunions between adopted children who search for their birth parents and those parents. not all of these stories are prime time material. here's one i know of:

It happened about this time of year. Maybe even on a day like today, when the world is so bountiful and alive, so fertile, that the very air is heavy with the reproductive cells of plants. Amoeba and behemoth, plant and animal, we all strive to be immortal. To live on through our children.

Did she savor the heat of the sun on her face that day, inhale the scent of her own skin as it browned and glistened with perspiration? It used to be said that women don’t sweat, they glisten. All those years ago, it wasn’t considered laydylike to sweat. And one must behave like a lady. But, no one would call her a lady. Ladies, in the fifth decade of the 20th century, didn’t cohabitate with men they weren’t married to.

After that day, and for many days, many weeks, many months, perhaps even many years, there were few such beautiful days. The shine of summer obscured by clouds - of shame, of accusation and denial. Clouds of anger and of fear. Confusion. Hate and self loathing. Frustration and loneliness. The words she speaks are not believed. Words of one ‘loose’ woman against the words of six men. Six men who arrived on her farm, that day in early June, to ‘persuade’ her that she did not want to live there. There was some disagreement about whether one so young, and so …. female….. should inherit such a place.. The police would not believe one disreputable woman, whose story differed so much from the story of six ‘upright’ men. This is, after all, a democracy.

She didn’t extinguish the spark that began in the darkness of that day. Did she perhaps try, unsuccessfully? The spark became a flame. The flame grew till she felt she was merely a host for this all consuming fire. Did she hate it? Pity it? Wish only to be rid of it? Did she take extra pains to care for her body, knowing another life was dependent on her? Or did she deliberately abuse herself, hoping to put an early end to the humiliation that was more and more evident as time passed. As her frame expanded. Her shame was as big as her belly, which was as big as her shame, which was as big as her belly…. One fed the other. Till the darkest day of all, when she was finally separated from it, in physical and mental anguish such as she’d never before known existed. Now it…. It being a she…. was someone else’s problem. She never saw her child again. Nor did she make any attempt to know who she had become. Why would this unwilling mother choose to be reminded of what was the worst time of her life?

The child of that dark union lives now, wrapped with exquisite care, in layer on protective layer of tenderness. The tiny, fragile infant is enfolded within the sturdy, sun browned body of a woman. Inside, where no eye sees, there are gossamer layers of trial and error, thick layers of caution and of watchfulness. Layers of injuries healed, of hard, lonely lessons learned. Layered upon layers, laid with painstaking care, making her strong. Strong of heart and of body and of mind. Or so she thought, – but nothing could prepare her for the shock of learning her beginnings. In the passing of a few numbers on her digital clock, during the course of one telephone call, she has become someone she doesn’t know. She isn’t who she thought she was. She is no longer sure who she is.