CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #5
Snapshots of Clara's Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 - 2017
Age and Living Circumstances/Location: 27, mother of 17-month-old Zephyr, partnered with Abraham Wood, living in northern New Hampshire, rural living outside small town and close to small city, in collective household with three other adults, two other children, three of their kittens.
Part of large, polyamorous community, many with children near Zephyr's age; many local friends and many scattered around USA.
Leading pre-teen and teen girls' groups and mother-daughter classes.
Books: The Female Man, Joanna Russ; The Infinity Box: A Collection of Speculative Fiction, Kate Wilhelm; Children of Dune, Frank Herbert; The Forbidden Tower and the Merlin Trilogy, Marion Zimmer Bradley; Dreamsnake, Vonda MacIntyre; The Dead Zone, Stephen King; Watchtower and The Dancers of Arun, Elizabeth A. Lynn; Stardance, Spider & Jeanne Robinson; The Snow Queen; Joan D. Vinge; The Many-Colored Land, Julian May; The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You, Dorothy Bryant; Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy; Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman; A Door into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski; The Gate to Women's Country, Sheri Tepper; The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; The Seth Books (The Unknown Reality, Volume I of the Seth Books) and Jane Roberts' autobiographical books.
Music on the Radio: "Woman" and "(Just Like) Starting Over," John Lennon; "The Tide is High," Blondie; "9 to 5," Dolly Parton; "Endless Love," Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie; "The One That You Love," Air Supply; "Let's Get) Physical," Olivia Newton John; "Don't You Want Me," The Human League; "Angel of the Morning," "Queen of Hearts" and "The Sweetest Thing I've Ever Known (is Loving You)," Juice Newton; "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Open Arms," Journey; "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" Joe Jackson; "Same Old Lang Syne" Dan Fogelberg; "She's Got A Way," Billy Joel; "Stray Cat Strut," The Stray Cats; "Take it to the Limit," The Eagles; "Whip It," Devo; Stevie Wonder.
Listening to and Playing: Cris Williamson, Holly Near, Meg Christian, Margie Adams.
Writing: Creating original curricula for and teaching women's health and fertility awareness classes.
Writing articles, plays, short stories, poetry, songs; some are published in local papers and newsletters.
► Practicing Transcendental Meditation twice/day since 1972; attending Native American-type sweat lodges and Finnish-type saunas with ceremonies/rituals; attending Goddess/Wiccan circles and rituals.
► Have piano; don't play it much.
► On state Board for National Abortion Rights Action League.
► Member, Rising Sun Feminist Health Alliance as lay health educator.
► Member, Nursing Mothers community group.
► Bike riding, swimming at local lakes and indoor lap pool.
1981 is the year I grow into being a mother. Zephyr is born in May of 1980, but it takes me about a year to catch up to my new life. I go through his first year in a fog. I see pictures of him and me, of Abraham, of friends and other family during that first year and I feel as if I don't remember a minute of it clearly.
Breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, recovering from a difficult and painful home birth (which would have been even more painful and resulted in a hysterectomy had I been in a hospital, but that's another story), and adjusting to my new body and role are occurring in an intense whirlwind. I feel as if Zephyr's first year happens to someone else I vaguely know and recall even more indistinctly.
The embryonic, then infant and baby Zephyr seem to me to be several different and distinct entities. The boy he becomes is another, the teenager still another and the man he is seems like a separate person, also. I can't be the only parent who experiences their children as several different foreigners, can I?
It's hard to explain, but I feel this way about lots of sections of this life: distantly connected, kind of absent while present. Some people talk about my being "ungrounded." Others mention that my body is so battered and exhausted that I can't catch up, so my mind is not fully functioning for that year, but this explanation doesn't work for other years.
Jane Roberts, the author of all the "Seth" books and her own autobiographical writings, explains this phenomenon in terms of "forking lines" and "probable selves," which we know now to be timelines in the multiverse. She says in several of her books that we can often see ourselves in photos from one year to the next and see that we are so different as to be able to discern that these are not the same versions of ourselves: we go on alternate forks away from the former self and are now seeing several "probable selves" strewn among our photos. I know that feeling well.
Whatever the causes, in 1981 I feel so much better that I finally start experiencing my life more immediately, again. I'm more in congruence with what's happening. It all seems less like someone else's dream and more like my life. I also start to write again after almost a year of not writing.
Here are three poems from that summer and fall. Nothing great, but a return to writing feels good. These are typed on onionskin with that Smith-Corona electric typewriter I carry with me since 1972.
WHILE THE BABY SLEEPS
My body baking;
Recipe for nursing mothers' de-
"Bake for four hours at
dip to cool;
relaxed when done."
Turning pages of a summer
or lying beside it,
knowing I can pick it up
if I want.
Laconic conversation and
waft languidly about:
I need do nothing about them.
Instant relief always
at my toe tips,
stretching, stroking, floating,
the mother's turn to swim.
MOTHER AND SON
After our bath,
serene with fresh skin,
my baby lay
dressed in clean clothes,
I brush my hair
in long strokes,
prolonging the time;
loving the feeling
of his eyes on me
his breathing easing
to the strokes of my brush.
our love a tangible
current between us;
in complete safety
Between the fallen leaves
Broken twigs and promises crunch
beneath our bodies;
the leaves' rustling hides all sounds.
tasting Spring's syrup
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