Since returning from my vacation, our time abroad, my time testing the waters of Lake Superior, Spruce Lake, the Mediterranean and a small pool in Tuscany, I have stewed on just how to share what took place as the four of us traversed the miles between here and there.
Photos are a great way to capture.
We swam in iron red rivers.
We swam in crystalline blue waters.
We tasted figs off the trees.
We navigated airports and roads described by what we thought were music notations like “rallentare”.
Today. At home, with my kids starting high school together, my son as a senior and my daughter as a freshperson, I am taking big gulps of air to oxygenate what could be an overwhelming week.
And, resting assured they are in the capable hands of new teachers. This is what Catherine saw at her high school convocation:
So I ask you, in Marianne Williamson’s poignant and important words,
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
All day long I have been rooting around here in my studio, writing and not writing.
I have driven kids around in the muddy March chill, to and from and home again.
I have watched the mighty Housatonic running near flood stage under the bridge.
I have read post upon post in honor of International Women’s Day.
I have not come up with a post of my own.
Until now. I just spent an hour at the kitchen table with my girl pouring over our latest Amazon purchase of “A Day in the Life of the American Woman: How We See Ourselves” by Sharon J. Wohlmuth, Carol Saline and Dawn Sheggeby (2005)
My girl, my 13-year-old American woman, loves to read real life stories of women today. History entertains her, but the contemporary stories of combat nurses or Pentecostal preachers are what she chooses over and over again.
Last night at Simon’s Rock College of Bard, which is about 3 minutes from my desk, I heard Alison Bechdel speak about her graphic novels. Her presence at Simon’s Rock is part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers happening during March. Alison created the cartoon strip “Dykes To Look Out For”, which she wrote for 25 years. She has published a graphic memoir titled “Fun House” which came out in 2006. Her passion for telling her own story, in her own way, is such an amazing testament to a woman in possession of her voice.
This is my 100th post on Laundry Line Divine. At this hour, nearly the end of this day, I am in my jammies, having had an ordinary sort of day, bumping between my work and my work, experiencing no great success, but a good deal of pleasure. I walked my 16-year-old half way to school this morning. He said he did not mind that my nightgown stuck out over my wool pants and boots, under my Carhart jacket. It looks like a dress, he said. I sat with my husband, talking over his work plans, our kids, and what we desired today. I came up here, thinking of some remarkable thing I could say, but instead, spent my work hours, reading other women- like Marianne Williamson over on Huffington Post, Lissa Rankin at Owning Pink and the details about International Women’s Day at the Museum of Motherhood.
What else could I do today, but be a mother?
I thought about making a list, I love lists, of 100 remarkable women.
I thought about making another list, loving them so, of 100 women I would like to lunch with like Almanzo’s Mother in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “Farmer Boy”.
But, what I ended up doing was being a Mom, with no list, just my life, today, ordinary and wonderful. I noticed the sparkles on the snow; still snow here, as I swept salt off the back steps. I watched our fish lazing about the tank, getting old, as far as fish lives go. I made breakfast at lunchtime. I drove up and over the mountain to fetch our pal who spends Tuesdays with us, noticing this 16-year-old, voice deep, coat open in the sun, stepping on snowy chunks just like he did when he was 8. I endured the teasing of my own 16 year old, who started today asking me if I remembered that he loves me. I folded yards of laundry and put it away. I cleaned up the dinner dishes.
Then, I ended this day with my girl, reading about other women, other mothers, other lives spent hugging, holding, sweeping. This is our work, along with everything else, tending this hearth and these hearts.
Here is what the International Women’s Day blog has to say:
So make a difference, think globally and act locally!! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
Here is what Marianne Williamson wrote at the Huffington Post:
The last thing we should do, in honor of International Women’s Day, is to celebrate it in some ultimately meaningless way. Rather, in honor of our foremothers, for the sake of our oppressed sisters around the world, and for the love of all of our children both born and not yet born, we should wake up now… kick ass now… and change this world before it is too late.
I think I will close here, considering our stories of kicking ass and being ordinary all in the same day.
PS While you are at the Museum of Motherhood site, look at our second “Fe-Mail” blog. Karen and I are featured bloggers there, every Tuesday in to May! Thanks Joy Rose!
PPS That gorgeous photo of my girl is taken by my dear friend Cathy Hoffman. As a photographer, Cathy as the ability to capture beauty and elegance with such skill. I am surrounded by her images here in my studio right now. xoxox Thank you Cathy!