Tuesday, May 15, 2012

light rain

I stood in the rain last night listening to my friend talk about suicide. We lost another person in our community last week, which makes three people in a month. It felt good to be covered in a cool, light rain when our conversation was so heavy. I wore a light summer tunic and yoga pants, so I was soaked in fifteen minutes. The night was beautiful. I thought about my new flowers, my vegetables, my newly planted fig tree. I thought about the men that died, and my baby in the ground under her sister's tree. The conversation flowed easily, and we pooled around the subject of faith and the book of James. If he had realized, my friend would have stopped talking about Psalms, or he would have invited me into his car, but I wanted to stand in the rain, let it wash over me.

There is no figuring any of it out, but we retell the stories to each other. We witnessed those people. They lived. They died. My friend says that they chose a peace, the peace with a decision made. I never mentioned my miscarriage, or my hemoglobin levels, or my dead daughter, but they were all there running down my back, puddles of them around me. My feet wriggle into the wet ground, sprout hard knotty roots out of my toenails. They lift the cement, and I reach high into the air, branches and leaves, taking in the rain. My trunk covered in lichen and small burrowing insects. I bleed into the soil. I sweat all night into the air, covering the grass around me in dew. My sapling is gone. I need the rain to let her go.

My strength is slowly poured into my body through dandelion leaf juice with lemon and apple. It is a bitter tonic. My friend brought me vegan potato soup. It restored something earthy in me. I roast veggies all day. My husband reminds me that a steak would be best for my blood, but I shoo him away with his insights. I am no longer willing to compromise that part of my belief system. I did that for many years, told people I was once a vegan line cook, a vegetarian for a decade, but I eat some meat now and again. They'd cringe. No one trusts an ex-vegetarian.

I will tell that story one day, the one about me compromising my beliefs about eating flesh, but not today.

The rain suits me. Lately, I have been fantasizing about moving to Oregon or Washington state, where the weather seems perfectly suited to my personality. And the lifestyle, let's be honest, seems perfectly suited to me too. We talk late at night about creating a gypsy caravan or camper. We pin ideas for each other on Pinterest, and think about making something eco-friendly where we are completely off the grid. It has a woodstove and solar panels, a composting toilet and a veggie oil diesel engine. We sell our house. We take our family on the road for a few years, homeschooling and traveling across the country, then we end up in a rain forest, creating an ice machine. The children are young, they will manage quite nicely. And we can grasp onto all the second chances we were afforded in the last few decades.

I am a tree walker, a large creature with moss and bark and hollow crevices for small creatures to create a home. I stomp through the forest, and I don't make a noise. I want to live on nothing with nothing but my children, my husband, the dog, then the bare necessities. To create art with my children, and sleep in one large bed with blankets made out of old sari silks and turmeric dye. To learn about the world by seeing, touching, doing. We cling to each other now, Sam and the children and my need to protect us overwhelms me. We sleep together, and think about how we can create a larger bed. We want us all close, skin touching other skin. Someone's knee juts into the crook of someone else's knees. I search for protective herbs and plant pansies and snapdragons by our front door. I burn black candles charged with a white light to surround my family. I wonder what psychic harm I have endured by being so public about my grief and pregnancies. About my drinking past and sober present. I grieve and parent in this space. That feels so vulnerable lately, so much like a felled tree, rings counted at the whim of any passerby, made into a stump bench, gawked at and marveled at and confused by.

The last few weeks, I have been thinking about this space, my writing about grief and death and my daughter and my pregnancy. Sometimes I think the hardest part about this space is that I don't have any idea who reads here. My site tracker is vague. I check it infrequently at any rate. And I grow deeply self-aware that people in my daily life can come here and read my ugly thoughts, or my fears, and I know nothing about them. But that is not the hard part. It is not any of my business to know who reads here and it is certainly not my business to know what they think of me and my writing. What is hard is that I am changing. I want to have a conversation. I want a community. I offer up my writing, my vulnerability, in some strange forest ceremony, a large bonfire in a circle of trees, beckoning others to me, then I grow self-conscious when others watch, when I think they watch and offer no dance themselves.

The rain has continued all night into this morning. We lie in bed and read books, dreaming of the road and Sequoia. The babies ask me if our new baby is okay under Lucia's tree in the rain. And I tell them she is growing and changing into something more marvelous than we can imagine. We have to trust the earth to change her into something rich and loamy, and us too. And change us too.


34 comments:

  1. "And I tell them she is growing and changing into something more marvelous than we can imagine. We have to trust the earth to change her into something rich and loamy, and us too. And change us too."

    This is so beautiful it hurts.

    I hope the rain helps to soothe your hurt. Sending you love.

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  2. I read and rarely comment because I often feel like an interloper, reading your beautiful, poignant words but not having much to offer back. I suffered an early miscarriage way back in 2001, but I now have two daughters, 9 and 5 years old. I havne't suffered nearly as much as you have and I feel like an intruder even as your words move me.

    I don't have a point to this comment, except to say that I'm a reader and if I had a dance to offer back to you, I would.

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  3. I'm here reading, abiding by you, Angie. Sending love. xo

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  4. Angie, I don't comment much these days, words all gone...the few that were there, but I'm reading and always loving you and your words. x

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  5. You know, my dearest blogging friends, and readers from far and wide, my vulnerability really resides with people in my daily life who read here and don't share their reading with me. And by daily life, I mean people I know face-to-face who read. Again, I also know that is none of my business what they do.

    Yet lately, I have been feeling protective of that side I keep close to my chest, the one I share on my blog. It differs from the one that has to exist out in the world. That protectiveness makes me wonder if I should be writing at all. If I write in a way that isn't completely vulnerable, that feels inauthentic. Once I wrote that out, I already know its bullshit, but I there is something there that feels important. Anyway, what I am saying is that it feels different to have a neighbor read my blog rather than someone finding my blog and connecting with my words/experience. Because I think that the latter really does feel like a dance. There are people who don't read my blog whose blogs I adore, read religiously, I may not comment, but I feel like we are having a conversation.

    I have a dear dear friend who uses my blog to start a conversation:. She'll email me: "I have been out of touch, but I checked out your blog and wanted to send you an email." That feels right. I've lost a few friends because they didn't like who I was on my blog v. who I was in real life. I don't think the disconnect is that large, but I do think that I am more protective, less sulky and introspective in real life. How could i not be?

    ANYWAY, that is where this is coming from, not from you beautiful people, Tommie, Jeanette, Monique, m...I adore you and don't feel at all weird having you read and not comment. I read you and don't comment, but surround you with love too.

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  6. I know exactly how you feel about the face to face people versus the blog people. I used to write secretly, though not anonymously, until I was outed on Facebook. And there is really something so different about having those who know my "other" personality read my blog. I do wish I could reverse the clock, but there is no going back. I think the quality of my writing has really suffered though. I no longer feel like I can write anything deep or important. I have something half written in my head and I really feel like it is good, but I don't know if I will write it out.

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  7. I love the thought of our dead changing into something more marvelous than we can imagine. I appreciate the rain.

    Your words exude love and bring peace.

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  8. I think your vision of life would fit nicely with our vision. :)

    I get this post man. Lots of it.

    And I can still barely think of a damn word to say about it, except that I'm thinking about your post and processing it and loving it.

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  9. No-one in real life (that I'm aware of) knows about my blog. I'm happy with that so I can relate to the process you are currently going through, determining how real life and blog life segue.

    And, I agree with everyone who has already said it, your final paragraph is so beautiful it hurts.

    Wishing you much dancing and warm rain.

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  10. Glad to hear your voice today, Angie. What you say about the rain reminds me of that waterfall in Iceland and how I felt washed clean.

    I love the idea of Little Dot growing, changing with the earth. It's one of the reasons we scattered Kai's ashes in the water- so he could be part of something vast and beautiful, and so the things nourished by the water could be changed by him, too.

    I know what you're saying about dialoguing in blogland, but it's one of the many reasons I have always felt like I'm cheating by not blogging.

    On a very pedestrian note, can you get nori easily where you are?

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  11. Argh, wrong log in. Mr Sonny Boy is really me!

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  12. There is no figuring any of it out, but we retell the stories to each other. We witnessed those people. They lived. They died. My friend says that they chose a peace, the peace with a decision made. I never mentioned my miscarriage, or my hemoglobin levels, or my dead daughter, but they were all there running down my back, puddles of them around me.

    *****

    You have always been more brave. I can't bear to write what I don't truly mean. I can't bear to pretend. I wish I never did.

    I don't allow people IRL to see what I truly mean, not often. I don't want trampling and stabbing.

    Hence, no blog, no dance.

    But I love you.

    Cathy in Missouri

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  13. I read. Not frequently enough anymore. I certainly don't comment anywhere enough anymore.

    Blogs are funny things -- sort of memoirs caught in a moment, but there's no book to put down that spells an end for the reader, so there it is, lingering. I knew in my moment that I didn't want anyone I knew reading it, so I hid it from everyone. I only tell people now who I think can handle it, and hell, I rarely write anymore so if they find something insightful about me from 5 years ago, good for them.

    It's a tricky thing, and sometimes I wish I could turn it all off and hit erase and toss my phone into the ocean and go live in the forest, too. Call me when you get there, before you lose your signal.

    Thinking of you.

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  14. Your last paragraph is beautiful.

    My heart goes out to you.

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  15. I do have nori in my cabinet, or as my husband calls it-la tienda. Ooo, I forgot that seaweed is a good blood tonic.

    See, I think comments and emails are a dance. No blog necessary.

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  16. Wow this is amazing. I have commented before but I wanted to comment and say I am here and reading.
    But I understand wondering who reads...I often wonder too.

    Much love, Em

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  17. So much love to you, Angie. I love the stories you tell here, the way you make me laugh ("No one trusts an ex-vegetarian") even when you are being so damned reflective and moving.

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  18. I read. At least I read until Ben was growing and I needed to pretend dead babies don't happen. And now I read again.

    Thinking of you very much. It seems strange to me that you say you want a community of sharing; you seem so much the centre of mine.

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  19. I am here. I am not going anywhere. I love what you offer of yourself, courageous woman.
    xo

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  20. I have been a lurker on your site since February 2011. Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing and insights through this medium.

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  21. I started a blog to be part of the conversation and the community. It felt like a better way to take part than writing pages and pages and posting it in somebody else's comments. Lately though, I'm having trouble keeping up, writing myself, commenting. I am here, though reading still, participating in the conversation.

    I don't think many people I know in real life read my blog. I've told only a handful that I have a blog and only a couple what that blog is. I forget sometimes that it is a public thing that anyone can see. It feels kind of private for the people I know who visit me. Blogs are weird things. I sometimes wonder too about what I've put out there, but, oh, I'm so happy they exist and that you are here.

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  22. I am here, and will be here as long as you feel like sharing. Or not sharing. Much love my friend.

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  23. I want a community, too. Almost desperately. In the last year or so almost all our friends have moved out of the terribly expensive city where we live, and when Anja died, and we realized we had no one to come stay with E while we went to be induced to deliver her and I contemplated doing all of that by myself, I felt like this lack of community was the biggest failing of my life. (In the end my mother flew in from another country, getting on a plane a couple of hours after I called and told her about her granddaughter and I wasn't alone for Anja's delivery.) Community seems to be hard to find and make these days...or maybe it's just me.

    This is a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing this side of yourself.

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  24. I want a community, too. Almost desperately. In the last year or so almost all our friends have moved out of the terribly expensive city where we live, and when Anja died, and we realized we had no one to come stay with E while we went to be induced to deliver her and I contemplated doing all of that by myself, I felt like this lack of community was the biggest failing of my life. (In the end my mother flew in from another country, getting on a plane a couple of hours after I called and told her about her granddaughter and I wasn't alone for Anja's delivery.) Community seems to be hard to find and make these days...or maybe it's just me.

    This is a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing this side of yourself.

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  25. Angie, your words are always so beautiful and heartfelt, but this post has touched me deep within. I *do* live in Western Washington. The height of our rainy winter's end corresponded with my new diagnosis of PPD after the loss of my twins six months prior. It fit my mood but also made it somewhat worse, almost suffocating. However, this past week has been hot, the sun sizzling my skin and dessicating me from the inside out. I long for the rain to return. I lost my babies on August 5th. I don't remember the weather the day we most them but I know I wore my beat up Birkenstocks - no socks, red-painted toes - to the ER the night before, after my water had broken. Summer warms, vegetables and flowers grow, but now it almost feels like a mockery of my broken heart.

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  26. I literally *feel* everything you write. My soul can relate to the absolutely authentic way you put it all!

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  27. I've been here for a while, actually, long before my second daughter dies and was stillborn at 24 weeks. Prescient, maybe. Or just plain weird. Losing a child was my worst nightmare. Now it's happened and I am grateful for your words and your light showing me the way. Thank you...

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  28. Oh I am so sorry, Angie. Definitely unfair. I had an m/c once at 10 weeks (baby also hadn't grown properly, also lost blood...). But you've already had to deal with the worst grief, and now again. Sending a hug, many.

    At the same time, I, too, really laughed at your 'nobody trusts an ex-vegetarian' comment. That's the way to do it, I guess, allow a laugh to bubble up through the pain sometimes. Hope you find all the comfort you need now. x

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  29. "I am a tree walker, a large creature with moss and bark and hollow crevices for small creatures to create a home."

    This image takes my breath away. When I read it I knew I had to leave a comment on your blog. And then I got to the end and knew doubly so.

    I just found your blog though a friend. I have never experienced the depth of loss that you write about but your words speak to the part of my soul that feels sorrow. Sitting here in the desert where it rains one day a year, reading your words, it is as if a cool, refreshing rain cleanses my soul. Thank you.

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  30. I read. And I love the images and the language you're able to paste up against this loss. So many of the descriptions and the visuals ring true to my experience of losing my son, and it helps.

    Sending love
    xoxoxoxoxo

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  31. My new neighbors down the street were gone for several days in a row. I heard that their brother had died. I know he tried to commit suicide a few months back but don't know if his death was intentional or accidental. either way it is so tragic. I went down to their house to give them a card and spoke with them as I cried and they cried because it is just so sad. I don't know them very well. They don't know my story. The woman is due any day and I didn't want to freak her out with my story so I have been mum not even mentioning my gigantic belly as our two children play. It is weird to stand and talk of death without mentioning my daughter. I want to say I know of tragedy, of loss, of the injustice. I know of tears, a broken heart and love that does not stop. My heart hurts for them. Anyway, I was standing talking like you were standing talking about another death, unrelated to us personally. I am thinking of you all the time. Your son, two daughters and now Raven.

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  32. my heart aches reading your news. the last few lines especially are just so gorgeous, so sad and beautiful. just reading along and abiding with you.

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  33. Angie, I have been following your blog since I lost my baby girl on Feb 15. Your words Touch my heart. Thank you for your authenticity. You have helped me survive these darkest of days. I am so very sorry for your losses. Hugs

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  34. Well, I'm always reading. ; ) I don't always comment because sometimes I feel like my own words seem so inadequate next to yours. There is always so much to take in and absorb when reading one of your posts. You are truly an amazing writer.

    Having recently had my "real" life collide with my blogging life, I understand how weird that can feel. I hope more people join in the dance with you after they read this. : )

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