Sunday Morning ~ To Keep From Rotting
Pamodzin di pamodzi padaolera citsononkho. ~ Always on one place made the cob rot.
~ Chewa proverb
April 11, 2021
We are moving from faux spring into real spring, which is a bit early this year in Maine. Tomorrow I’ll get my snow tires off, which, should guarantee a snowstorm later in the week but today the crocuses and daffodils are blooming, day lilies and tulips are starting to poke up. I had my last day of downhill skiing this week, the first time ever I have skied without a jacket. It was nice, but felt a little confusing. The snow was like soft brown sugar, just this side of slush, and it was hard on the legs. I’m glad I went though; I’m all about proper goodbyes. I liked knowing it would be my last day for the year. It was a healthy way for me to get through a solitary winter. The peepers and frogs are singing in the evenings. I haven’t got the screens in yet so I’m a little nervous about sleeping with the window open. I’m not too worried about insects, but I’m afraid a squirrel might come in and that would be a hellish nightmare. Neighbors would be calling 911 for sure. Today I’ll get at least the bedroom screen in so as not to miss the most perfect Maine lullaby.
I drove an hour yesterday to get my second dose of vaccine, waited in line in the warm sun, wearing only one jacket as opposed to the three layers I wore three weeks ago. The people in line were much younger than the last time I was there and it was heartening to see so many young adults. Maine is doing something right. Again, the system was incredibly efficient, friendly, and professional. My heart was full as I waited my post-dose fifteen minutes. Even the parking lot was a pleasant place with people pointing to spots about to open up as they headed to their cars. It was so sweet. I thought, if an alien landed in the middle of this lot and looked around they would believe that earthlings are very helpful people! They’d write stories about how very kind and attentive we are to each other. There is no controversy or disagreement, only polite and friendly chatter, assistance for those in need, and subtle greetings with funny cloths over their faces. Maybe the air is bad to breath, they might think, but the people are remarkably kind to each other.
Now that I’m fully vaccinated I definitely feel a sense of relief, though I’m not feeling so great today. Thank you immune system. I have been exceedingly careful as the thought of spreading this virus unnecessarily is abhorrent to me, but in two weeks I’ll feel safe having dinner with my vaccinated friends. I can’t wait to share a meal.
I started teaching at the local college and am settling in to my class via zoom. It’s incredibly awkward. I spent the first week wondering why I did this to myself. When I taught at this college ten years ago I was given a class list and a room number. I showed up and taught. Good God, now I practically had to take an entire course just to learn how to navigate the online system, fulfill my orientation requirements, and figure out how to set up the class with students joining from various locations. I’m still unsure about etiquette and boundaries. Not sure yet if I should require the video be on and struggle with measuring what each student has learned. I dread grading them.
I had very few college courses that I considered fun. They were mostly a chore, a slog through piles of required dry, boring reading. I want the students to look forward to this class, yet don’t want to be a sap. I had a couple of college professors who were inspiring and that’s what I want to be. This one class, a total of three hours a week face to face, screen to screen, or whatever you call it, seems like a full time job! I don’t know how full time teachers do it. I really don’t.
The first book I had them read was Witches Midwives and Nurses, a history of women healers written by two women from the Boston Women’s Collective. (It is sinking in that these students could be my grandchildren, and the women’s movement is ancient history to them.) I stress the importance of telling your own story, in your own voice. No witch got to tell her story. Imagine how our perception of women healers might be different. So much of their wisdom was lost. And for what? I wonder how much fear they lived under? Or with no mass communication, did they know they were burning midwives down the road? Now we are reading A Midwife’s Tale, a historical account of colonial midwifery in Maine from the diary of Martha Ballad, a midwife in Hallowell during the revolution. She made a daily record for twenty-seven straight years at a time when few women could write. It’s fascinating to compare the focus when the story is gleaned from women’s perspective. The day to day tasks recorded in this diary were passed over by many male historians as insignificant women’s work. But she was the first person in America to keep birth records. It is astonishing.
I thought about the comparison between historical accounts, how stories are now being told from different voices, how this can turn us over and create healthier minds and beings. Being immersed in readings about racism I’m learning how the history books of my youth colored my perspectives and how organizations have systematically contributed to racist oppression. It’s painful to read and process. But, as I’ve said to many women in labor, there’s no other way but through.
Love to all,