Thursday, August 19, 2010

Before the Breath

There is a moment...

right between; between...being unborn, and born.  I've experienced it often this year.

There's the reveal; she's ready, showing the signs, doing the little nesting dance, making a circles or meditating.  She hears something no one else can hear.

She begins to talk to her belly.  Little lowing sounds, unlike her normal voice.  Gentle.  Consistent.

She focuses harder, and may cry out.  Or may just put her head down and push.  This can go on for awhile...or not.  Soon, you'll see more water, and more tissue...and...

feet.  Followed by a nose.  If everything is right.  You pray for the nose. Sometimes you have to find it, turn it, set things straight.  Scary times.  You close your eyes, and visualize.  Sometimes you pray.  Sometimes you cry.  Sometimes you laugh. You work hard.

Then things can happen.  They happen fast, or slow, and can be wonderful, or terrible.  If they're normal, they're excruciatingly passionate.  There is a point at which you forget to worry about getting dirty, or putting your hands where they've never been, or doing what needs to be done.  You do it. You help, because it's right.  You put your back into it.  It's why you were there.  And there's a life coming...

So you sometimes pull, and you always get wet, and you wipe away mucous, and you hold that new life in your hands, and in that excruciating moment between being and not being, that moment when you're holding the most perfect, still and silent creature on the earth in your hands, on your lap, you're holding your breath too.  You've done everything you can. You know now's the time...and you swipe with your fingers, and touch your lips to the moist nose, and...blow. 

What was still and perfect, not quite alive, not a living soul, stirs.  An eye opens, a head turns, and you catch your breath too, and your life has changed.  There's another soul in the world, and your breath was the first it felt in its still-wet, brand new lungs.  You wipe it clean, rub it hard, check its sex, and hand it over to its mother to be licked...and loved...and taught to live in the world, taught to take nourishment, taught to be a goat, or a cow, or whatever it was meant to be.  You let go, step back. And it's beautiful. You quiver with the miracle still in your bones, in your tired arms, in your heart.

And for a day, or a night, or a week, you remember what you were witness to; what old voices whispered in your ears.  And the circle is complete until you begin to step away from it...until the next time.

When you'll be there again...and share the magic, the blessing of that moment...that longest second...before the first breath.

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