Today I am remembering labor, the labor I experienced birthing my first child. I went into labor on a Monday morning. It began painlessly enough; it seemed so easy. By Tuesday afternoon, it had been almost 48 hours since I had last eaten. The contractions were painful and seemed to go on forever, although it had only been 24 hours. Exhausted, I fell asleep instantly as the contractions subsided, only to be awakened into agony minutes later. One whole day of my life was spent swinging wildly between profound sleep and sudden wakeful pain.
Extremely painful situations have a surreal quality. They defy rational thought. I learned from my body how to cope with intense pain during that day of labor years ago. Once it is severed from its moorings in the ordinary, pain can be met at necessary intervals and thus endured. This means, of course, a sudden shift from tranquility to chaotic intensity and back again. Eventually, God willing, the pain does not return and one is left with the tranquility.
I have wondered at the tranquility of the last few days. Mostly though, I have been grateful for these days of peace and may there be many more.
I have kept myself very busy today with a long deferred project. Many years ago I obtained an old travel trailer, an Argosy (made by Airstream). This old trailer housed my daughters and me through many summers in the wilds. Things have changed and the Argosy sits in the drive, quietly waiting for my wanderlust to return.
During the long wait, lichens have discovered the painted surface of the trailer's exterior. Grey patches have grown and spot the roof. This morning I persuaded "The Teenager" to carry the ladder from the basement workshop to the first floor landing and out the door. I gathered the long handled brush that attaches to the garden hose, my sponge mop, and a plastic scrubbing-pad and followed the ladder. I proceeded to setup the ladder and all my equipment as it started to rain. The day was warm so I decided that the rain would aid my cause. Rinse water sprinkled freely and steadily as I worked.
The lichens were territorial and gave up their established positions with reluctance. I worked slowly, enjoying the warm rain.
As the first small segment of clear paint emerged J, my neighbor across the street, spotted me. I heard him call to me and carefully turned around on my ladder to give him a wave. He was laughing, hard. Soaked to the skin in my overalls and T- shirt, hair scraggling down my back I must have been quite a sight. I laughed along with him, gave him a final wave, and turned back to my task.
A few hours later other neighbors across the street, R&B, caught my attention as they cheerily shouted my name.
"Maggie, what are you doing in the rain?" shouted B.
"I am taking advantage of the free rinse water," I shouted back.
They laughed, hard, shook their heads, and headed off in their car.
It was peaceful working out there in the rain. Thousands of water drops landing on thousands of leaves provide a steady peaceful sound that dampens all others. With the exception of my three amused neighbors, I spent the morning alone with the water and trees.
Eventually the rain fell quicker and harder, I retreated to the house and a hot shower. Later in the day the weather cleared. I could have gone back out to finish the job. I think I will wait for another rainy day.
|RECIPES :: Cast
Page by Page: A Woman's Journal