The shifting of the desert weather beckons us outside. And so our family life shifts as well. Lunch is often consumed on a blanket in the park or at the edge of the rocky wash beneath cottonwoods. Calls of friends on scooters and swings ring out from across the playground. In the wilds it is the call of the quail and woodpecker that we hear most.
She searches for lizards under the rocks, she sits in the cradle of the mesquite’s branches, and he rubs the grit of sand between his palms, natural exfoliation. I press my back onto the unfamiliar coolness of the desert floor and let the sun warm me from the inside out. We emerge with pinker cheeks and the smell of earth’s perfume jammed beneath our fingernails.
The sky is the ocean, tipped upside down. It is wearing her spotless blue cape most days.
There is little time for writing anymore.
Between play dates and school pick-up and walks to the park and learning how to cook meals for nine (oh, did you know that one of my BFF’s and her three girls have been living with us?) and homework and wrestling laundry…I have little energy to do anyone other than crashing out between a few warm bodies at night.
I miss the writing.
But it is there, perhaps in a different form. It lives in me the way that sun penetrates every pore of my skin as I push him in the swing. It does this because there is no other way, because that it what it knows, because it feeds me. Because sun creates energy and so do the words. And an object in motion remains in motion. So does intention.
My breath and his breath as he rolls over, asleep from the potion of breastmilk, are the words. The writing unravels in her curious and intuitive questions. I eat the words as they come out of the oven and then lick the crumbs and leftover letters from my lips; no one ever needs to even read them. When she twirls her lean body and sings about the imaginative (real) world she plays in, well, the words are her nourishment. And as I watched her fall asleep between the waves of her labor, words were plunked down slowly into my hands: redemption. anchor. sacrifice. breath. And when he was born, the same words rose like steam from my heart.
I tap out alot of the words via text messaging these days. It works for my mamalife and my mama-friends. Between the streaks of blessed desert winter play time are streaks of melt-downs and sibling torment that are just as memorable. I also wipe a good number of asses. And the 911 text messages are a lifesaver. They are a mini-novel – my own autobiography – in the making.
In the teeter-totter of motherhood, my goal is to stay rooted at the fulcrum. Not too much drama on either end. You have balance, but then again, what good is the ride if you don’t give into the ups and downs? If you never let yourself feel the way your belly floats on the way down or the way your feet dig into the dirt and push you back up again?
What’s a wish if you’t don’t work for it, sweeping the dreams and words from your core unto the winds with your very breath?
At the fulcrum, I have a vision board. I have my word of the year (equanimity). I have my wild-crafted flower essences imbued with love from the tiny hands of my girls. I have my apothecary botanical truffles made by the whirling dervish hands of my best girl. I have a thick memory foam mattress topper and the deepest bathtub I’ve ever slid myself into. I still have placenta capsules in the cooler and plenty of cresote and lavender that get gratefully crushed between my fingertips most every day. I have a circle of women who cry with me and raise the roof for me and also know how to raise well-deserved hell. I’ve got a few bottles of wine, a few new $2 dresses, and a supply of dark-as-midnight chocolate. I’ve got triple layer of smiles.
I’ve got Instagram goodness and even some frozen waffles that I sandwich together with square slabs of melted butter. I’ve got divinity without dogma and salvation without a deity. I’ve got a man who brings me Orchids and his daughters Freesia. I’ve got Ireland and Chicago and Washington and Canada and lots of Midwestern love. I’ve got Red Rocks and dusty footprints on the trail behind me. I’ve got the knowledge of a direct connection in the middle of the fleeting, implosive moment between anger and Source.
Spark. A little death. A little life. It’s gotta have both to exist.
All of this can be armor or balm.
And I still crave the words.
The ink-ribbon upon the paper kind. The unspoken kind. The graffiti on the wall kind. The subliminal and psychic and on-the-tip-of-the-tongue ones. The scrawled with a peacock feather upon your heart kind. The lyrical kind. The calloused-finger kind. The backspaced and empty space kind. The salty, bitter, sweet, and sour ones. The ones that catch in your throat and rise from your womb.
I’ll take them.