NOVEMBER :: HUNTER'S MOON
Hush young hare,
Beware, take care.
Danger fills the night.
Pray a cloud will shade the moon,
putting out its light.
We love this book by Penny Pollock and Mary Azarian (one of my most favorite illustrators!) with poems about the names for the full moons. November's moon is called the Hunter's Moon, because its early rise gives extra light to the hunters, both human and animal. I snuck out in the cold and dark while my household was asleep the other night to try to capture some of its glory.
Grey has been the color of things around here for the last week. We have had what feels like endless rain, driving the last of the leaves off the trees. I do love the stark beauty of November after the showiness of October, but I could do without the rain.
So in the midst of all this rain and gloom and hunting (there was a large deer hanging to drain from the tree by my neighbor's driveway--YES I live in the country!) the grey has somehow gotten inside of me and I'm not sure how to get it out.
I had a miscarriage last week, and while I am physically feeling much better, and am even laughing again, it is as though something cold and empty is there in my body when I'm still. There are so many things to say about this: it was early, which is a blessing; it was a long-desired pregnancy, which makes the loss so hard; it was incredibly painful physically, and I often felt afraid; I am so surrounded by a wonderfully loving and supportive community, especially my patient and gentle husband... I could go on, back and forth... There is no point. The only thing worth saying is that I have lost something unspeakably precious, and while, YES, I will be fine (and even am fine already, on many levels) I have lost a part of myself as well in all of this, in some mysterious way.
There is a really wonderful article from the New York Times at this link that has really spoken to me this past week. Even just the title says so much: A Planet of Pain, Where No Words Are Quite Right. I especially loved this closing paragraph:
I can tell you that I want people to know. I don’t want it to be a secret or a shadow or something that is endured only alone. I want people to know that I have been through something, that I am tired but optimistic, that I’ve been knocked down but don’t help me up because I can get up myself.
It’s fair, I think, to want witnesses for our suffering. But with the sorrow also comes hope. And after all, we are resilient creatures. A friend of mine said it well in an e-mail message after she heard my news. “I hope you don’t give up,” she wrote. “I want to take a picture of your child one day against the tallest sunflower.”
And so in the midst of all of this I feel profoundly broken, and yet stronger than I knew myself to be. It is a time of contradictions, of centering, of hunkering down and listening to the wisdom of my body. It is a time to let myself be loved and nurtured, and a time to love and nurture myself. I am getting out of bed, I am going to work, I am talking with friends and family about other things. But underneath all of that runs a current of awareness that I just had a brush with the Divine--I got to harbor a small life for a few short weeks. I will never ever forget that I carried this promise of a child.
Part of my healing process has been reading about the stories of other women's experiences with miscarriage. This one is from a blog that I read regularly, and I read this a few weeks ago, before I knew that I was pregnant. It was the first thing I thought of when my miscarriage started, and it gave me strength and perspective that was much needed.
This one is very sad (they all are) but also beautiful (most are this also). When I read this passage from Beloved by Toni Morrison at the beginning of this woman's post, a chill ran down my spine. I have read these words half a dozen times (yes, Beloved is one of my favorite books) but they have never had so much meaning for me before.
“She left me.”
“Aw, girl. Don’t cry.”
“She was my best thing.”
Paul D sits down in the rocking chair and examines the quilt patched in carnival colors. His hands are limp between his knees. There are too many things to feel about this woman. His head hurts. Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman. “She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.” …
“Sethe,” he says,"me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.”
He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. “You your best thing, Sethe. You are.” His holding fingers are holding hers.
-from Beloved by Toni Morrison
Sometimes words can be just right...
And so can my Nikki McClure calendar.