Well, well, well! It’s been 8 months since my son Montana Rose was born, and this is the first opportunity I’ve taken to sit down and post to this blog. I apologize (mostly to myself) for the long absence! I have been an avid daily journaller since I was about 16 years-old, yet I have scarcely written more than five or six entries since becoming a mom. How in the world can I keep track of my life without my journal!? I am losing the battle to retain control of my previous navigational systems, having to accept the occasional email or Facebook Post—usually sent from my iPhone while Montana is asleep at the breast—as a meager substitute. The effect is one of total disorientation, like being blindfolded and set adrift in a lil’ rowboat, without the oars. Reminds me of a favorite quote:
“Mankind owns four things that are no good at sea:
Anchor, Rudder, Oars,
and the Fear of Going Down.”
Giving up the fear of drowning, and learning to dive with abandon seems to be the most useful parenting skill I can muster. Fortunately, I do have the chance every single day to practice, practice, practice!
I’ve felt very sensitive about existing as much as possible outdoors (yet another reason why posting to this blog is difficult!), as Montana is infinitely calmer and happier to be around cedar, kale, wind, falling leaves, roses, pebbles and sand. Especially when he was a newborn, I had zero desire to leave our homestead (driving in a car felt like utter torture!), preferring to lull about in the garden and forest, letting Montana crawl barefoot in the soil and duff. One of my favorite fotos is of him triumphantly holding onto our young apple tree with a mouthful of dirt. It was truly amazing how long he was able to stay in self-directed play on that little patch of ground at only six months of age.
I feel sad when I think about so many moms and kids who don’t have the opportunity to play with simple, clean earth. My partner Keeth mentioned to a city-mouse friend how much Montana prefers sticks to any manufactured toys, and she replied, “yes, but you don’t know where that stick has been!” In an urban environment, this is sadly true, but on our rural homestead, we are among the rare few who know there has never been any industry or agriculture to pollute our land. Luckily, we DO INDEED know where that stick has been—it was grown and fed directly from the breast of Mama Earth.
I have also been very sensitive to electric light ever since he was born. Because we live in a tiny off-the-grid cabin and spend most of our time at home, the only lights Montana usually sees are very dim-LED style. He has always risen at daybreak, and fallen asleep at dusk. On those occasions when we are out-and-about after dark, the bright lights tend to keep him buzzing awake. Last night, in the glare of our uberlit local laundromat, he was crooning and screeching away as if it were noon! As soon as we climbed back into the darkness, he was asleep in five minutes. It’s so interesting to think about how our current society hardly considers exposing our babies to electric light to be a health issue because we’re so accustomed to it.
Mothering has certainly been one of the most physically challenging things I have ever attempted, from heartburn to backpain, and everything in between. My new normal has been naturally more grounded and ‘in my body’ than ever before, yet paradoxically, I’ve felt it necessary to be utterly vigilant about keeping my ecosomatic skills in the foreground. Just walking down the road with 20 extra pounds of bouncing-baby-boy (how literally true!) strapped to my body demands that I focus on the nuances of every single footfall, lest I keel over. How suddenly strange to have to THINK in order to do something which has been automatic for most of my life since toddlerhood.
It’s as if I am learning how to walk right along with my son. It really helps to be able feel the ground beneath my feet, so I’ve taken to wearing moccasins ever since becoming pregnant—the rocks on the beach and our country lane offer foot accupressure treatment anytime. I’ll often pause when I step on a particularly well placed stone: STOP, CLOSE EYES, TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Then move on.
Gathering blackberries requires a whole new skill level of skill when you have a babe-in-arms! I have to avoid scratching the heck out of my boy’s flesh, offer his eager mouth some, but not too many (yes, I learned this the hard way–he gets a rash), and keep him from dumping the whole basket on the ground, all the while trying to avoid ending up in the briars! Its now quite a feat to actually arrive home unscathed and with a bucket o’ berries.
All in all, I feel very committed to raising my child in nature as much as possible in this digital world. Check back here for more posts on this subject.
Whew!!! That’s all the time I have right now! I’m amazed I got this far. Got to click ‘publish’ lickety-split—no time for editing—before Montana wakes up from his nap! Got to get back out to my garden while the sun is still up! Not sure when I’ll be able to post again…..Ciao for now!