Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the strength of womanhood

Strength in surrendering
All I could do this past weekend was go for a walk in our serene Arb, communing with the trees and prairie grass. Then I got to a crossroads and I paused. I wanted to walk on, but I wasn't sure I had the time for it. A woman who'd been walking in front of me had sat down on a log and was overlooking the view, I thought, and I didn't want her to think I had paused just to follow her next move. So I explained. "I don't know which way I should go." I can't recall the order of our sharing past that, but it sort of went like this (condensed version; I talk fast, so a lot more went into it):

She: "I just want to take the path you don't take."
Me: "I'm just trying to figure out if I have the time for the longer route. I'd really like to take the longer route."
She: "I just want to be here in the Arb. I'm supposed to meet some friends at the college for a concert and it's supposed to be fun, but I just want to be here."
Me: "... I can't decide. I am coming undone."
She: "So am I!!!!"

So then I gave her a big hug.

And then we talked.

I shared some of the hooks that I'm trying to hold onto these days. Like how I last week had that feeling, image, realization; that when things come undone and the pieces of our life fall apart, they will eventually reconfigure somehow — they will have to land somewhere — and something truly beautiful can come out of that.

And we talked about finding peace amongst the trees and their sounds, communing with them, and seeing the full ripe moon those past recent days; feeling a sense of connection.

And I shared this image from the Wise Child, a book I love about the strength of womanhood and that I read and reflected over with my own personal group of strong women; my mama book club — a circle of women, displaying the strength of womanhood through what we all collectively not just endure, but survive, live, grieve, and celebrate together.

The image I shared with the woman in the Arb is about the "wise child:" a young girl, scared of crossing a bridge. And then she has this realization:
Only the other night ... I had felt part of everything, part of animal and bird, tree and stone. If I was part of everything, then I was also part of bridge and stream, of the sharp rocks beneath the water and the tumbling, rushing waters. Even if i fell; into waters. and even if I was swallowed up by them, I would still be a part of it all. In such a world, such a universe, nothing terrible could happen to me.

Suppose, I asked myself, just suppose that I walked across that bridge as if I was part of it and part of the water, that I decided that whatever happened as I did so, it would be all right, what then?
And the woman nodded. And she talked about the moon again. How it always used to make her think of her kids, who're now grown, and she would miss them. But lately seeing the moon would make her feel at home with them.

And we didn't share much of any personal details. But there was just this shared bond, this connection, this strength. And if I said the words or she said the words, it didn't really matter. It was the strength of womanhood, of sisterhood that shun through. It was the feeling of tradition. We have done this; we can do this. We have to do this.

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