This morning on the drive to work, I saw an opossum sitting on a chain-link fence circling a construction site, impassively watching the traffic on Six Forks Rd. I drew the opossum card from my animal spirit/medicine deck the other morning (the one from New Mexico you found at Goodwill) and had been sitting on that message, letting it digest these past few days. The accompanying book spoke on opossum teaching us to strategize, but when I think on the opossum, it is on a more patient, taciturn creature. I remember that early morning at the newly-wed bungalow, before the sun had risen, after setting food on the back porch for the cats, finding an opossum helping him or herself to the feast. But in particular, I think of that moment when I opened the door and knelt down to the creature's level, how it looked me in the eyes when I asked, "Hey, what are you doing?" and then turned and waddled away, in no hurry whatsoever, utterly unruffled. I almost expected to hear it say laconically as it left, "yeah, yeah..." The image of today's plump, wiry critter sitting on a fence sandwiched between two scenes of human noise and manipulation only solidifies the definitions I’d been drawing vaguely myself.
I’ve begun reading Birthing from Within, which I think a nice palate cleanser after witnessing, and being a little frightened by (I’ll be honest) Sierra’s birthing of Ella. Birthing from Within instructs to purge pre-conceived notions and fears, all these anxieties surrounding pregnancies and birth which build over a woman’s life time, and turn inward. Turn off the mind, trust the body. Acknowledge that complications occur, that birth is not in your control, and become unflappable in the face of that. Just do as your body instructs and let go. Maybe this is all connected? The opossum watching that which it cannot change and adapting, finding a good spot on a man-made observation post before shuffling to its day-time hiding place?
The one truth that, paradoxically, gives me more comfort than anything else is that I can't do anything about this now, right? I mean, this baby is coming out whether I worry over it, dread it, plan it to death, or not. I might as well relax a little and let my body do its work. The first women knew nothing of cervix dilation or calorie counting. They just surrendered to their bodies. They ate what felt right to eat, they breathed when they needed to breathe, they squatted and pushed when their bodies gave the green light. And here we are, the human race. And also, the opossum race.
an excerpt from a letter to my Grandma I began scribbling this morning