Monday, December 12, 2011

On Geese and Seeing

Nearly every day, I plan something to write here.  Despite how it may look, I in fact have much more to say than I have time to write.  (This post by the talented and insightful Jennifer New rings so true, and the poem is perfect.)  I still have plenty to share about food and eating, but since the baby entered my life, I've been thinking about much more.
Motherhood has been the most profound experience of my life.  Returning to work after being home with my daughter for two months was a bizarre experience.  In a way, it felt like I very easily slipped right back into the life I'd put on pause.  But deep down, when I have quiet moments to think (which are rare) and reflect on what my life is and what I want it to be, I feel irrevocably changed.  I feel like my brain is wired differently.  By developing new skills like recognizing E's breathing patterns and anticipating her needs before they arise, I am slowly realizing that this mastery comes at a cost.  I have always been the kind of person who wants to have it all, and insisted that I can and will do so.  Having a baby hasn't so much changed this idea as forced me to reflect more seriously on the specifics of what that looks like in my life.  It is teaching me that, for now, I have to let some things go.  I can and will continue to cook the way that I do, and take pictures and write about it along the way, but I won't be able to post every thing I cook or think that is worth sharing.  I will continue to journal to E a few times a week, but I will likely not find the time to complete a 365 project on Flickr like I've tried to for the last two years.  I will continue to run because I love feeling fast, but I might not get to squeeze in those impromptu long runs when the mood strikes and the weather is good.  
I don't write these things here to complain or as an excuse for posting less often, but in the hopes that you'll understand why I don't always have a meatless post up on Monday and I frankly don't feel too bad about it.  
I see this realization as an empowering one, rather than letting it make me feel old or helpless.  I used to get frustrated with my body when it didn't look the way I wanted to, or when it was stubbornly slow or weak.  I took it for granted.  It feels very different now that this body has created, carried, and birthed my child, and feeds her the only food she needs.  This experience has allowed me to look at my body and myself from a place of understanding and appreciation.  Instead of being so demanding and full of expectations, I'm trying to look at my situation for what it is, learning that I will see returns on the investments I make, but my stores are finite.  
Writing in any form tends to make you feel that you need to document every last moment, rather than simply be there and enjoy it.  I was reminded of this poem while walking to work this morning and watching honking geese pass overhead.  Seeing the sun rise in the cold has made my early walks to work easy to enjoy.  These geese, along with the melanic squirrels I pass each day, made an otherwise depressing Monday away from my sweet loved ones and warm bed much easier to bear.  

Snow Geese
by Mary Oliver
Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

These days I'm just trying to enjoy seeing.  So today (tonight) I'm writing what I feel like sharing.  
First, this photo of my cousin's visit, and four generations of women in my family.  (Are my mother and grandmother not radiant?!)
Me and this girl.
And brothers adoring her.  (I swear this was not posed.)
Herculean tummy time.
 This pot on the stove, simmering away, filled with clementine peel, cinnamon, and cloves.  This is the smell of winter to me, thanks to my mother.
 And our best Christmas tree yet.


Sarah said...

I'm sitting here at 5 am with my daughter breathing, full, on my shoulder and filled with so much happiness for the opportunity to be a mother. You are such an amazing woman! This is a wonderful post, thank you for sharing.

Carrie said...

Love love love.

Alicia R. Ambler said...

Sarah, I couldn't think of a better person to go through this whole thing with.
Carrie, <3

~T said...


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