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Archive for May, 2012

Patriot’s Garden

Red, white, blue, and some wonderful texture in this suburban front-yard garden.
Snapped on one of the neighborhood walks with my having-the-baby friend.

During the Other Eleven Months

For those who wonder what poinsettia looks like during the rest of the year, this lovely specimen sprawls contentedly on my having-the-baby friend’s patio.

Morning Glory

The particular light of sunrise over fog-crested hills and hollows taken by cell phone camera from the car.
Virginia is so beautiful!

Text came in at 5:33 – strong contractions for an hour.


I jumped up and dressed in the semi-light leaking past the shade and curtains, not stopping to realize the shirt was on inside out – a situation not rectified until I looked in the bathroom mirror some three hours later…

Got on the road, and had the pleasure of driving reverse-commute. It’s not quite gloating, the feeling you get when you speed along opposite a two-mile backup, but it must be similar.

I arrived at 6:30, and all progress stopped.

We walked and walked around the neighborhood. Contractions came back steady and strong while we walked, but the moment we went back in the house – back to a standstill.

My friend is very discouraged.

I came home in the mid-afternoon after making a visit at the exquisite, cathedral-style church in her neighborhood where Our Lord just happened to be exposed for Adoration.

We’ll try again when baby says it’s time.

The Business of Baby

My friend is working on perhaps the most difficult task of motherhood – waiting for labor to start in earnest.

She has been in prelabor for the past two days, and as her doula – or birth assistant – I am waiting with the same tense anticipation for a text telling me to jump in the car and charge off to the next state over for the birth.

I love the way the process of birth knocks down barriers of race, creed, and nationality between women. When you are in that excruciating, seemingly endless place, there are no longer any barriers between the laboring woman and her female up-holders. There is only pain, and the courage to face it – shared between them.

In the Dominican Republic, my daughter and I helped total strangers of different colors and cultures through labor and delivery, only to find at the end we had become – more than friends. A tight bond of having been there together, one vulnerable, the other fiercely protective, is forged in the birthing process between its female participants.

Honestly, it’s very hard, and somewhat inappropriate to bond like that with male doctors/midwives/attendants, and in the long tradition of women helping women at this delicate and highly vulnerable time, I think Mom should be attended only by women, especially women who have been there themselves.

With the possible exception of some husbands.

Bucolic Beauty in Tickland

Bucolic Beauty in Tickland
The same tick-infested trail had some beautiful vistas, especially by the light of the setting sun behind me.
Note the stack of hay bales – or hay cylinders, here – to the left.

George Washington Owned Here

100+ acres at the Northern end of the Crooked Run Valley belonged at one time to George Washington, at that time a surveyor.

The land was probably not rampant with ticks in his time, like it is now.
Our family went out for a late afternoon stroll down a little used network of horse trails which meander the President’s former property. It only took five minutes.

“Tick!” yelled the nine-year-old at the front of the line. Several others gathered to see, and soon began slapping and dancing to the same tune, “tick! tick!”

By the time the end of the line caught up, everyone was bent double picking these pernicious Lyme-disease carriers from their clothes and shoes, and wondering why there were suddenly so many.

When the two-year-old began to cry and grab his ears I turned away from the melee to find he had a large tick in his ear!

“That’s it!” I yelled. “We’re done!”

All the way back to the car the boys employed their pocket knives on the tiny spidery beasts whose hard shells don’t yield to normal swatting or finger-squishing.

I strode along turning the problem over in my mind – we weren’t in tall grass, how were ticks in such quantity getting onto everyone? Especially their heads, ears, and necks?

I thought about a conversation I had last year with a young man from Alabama. What had he said about ticks in the Deep South?

The trees! He said the ticks made nests in the trees and then dropped onto people or animals when they felt the vibrations of their footsteps!

Too gross for words!

We hurried back to the van and did a cursory ‘tick check’ right there in the parking lot. The boys stabbed several more on the way home, and in the bathtub that evening as I used a fine-toothed comb to inspect every inch of the five-year-old girl’s head, I found three more, already imbedded.

I don’t think we’ll be hiking that trail again. You can see why our county has the highest incidence of Lyme Disease of any other in the entire country.

Suburban Beauties

A marvelously beautiful vista on the suburban roadside.
These scarlet poppies are shockingly brilliant, and a very welcome visual relief along this stretch of often bumper-to-bumper surface street.

Taken by my 15-year-old son as we inched along.

Mary, Mary, Quite the Contrary…

Those little sprouts transplanted into recycled refrigerator drawers are flourishing!

By Happenstance

This ad was in a catalog at the front desk of the mystery hotel.

Although the Destination Is the Same…

Sunshine dapples the brick face of Old Salem Church like bullets did in May, 1862.
The church was used as a field hospital, amputated limbs stacked in corners higher than a man’s height, blood running out the doors.
The building is resting quietly after all the drama.
Taken on my cell phone camera

…there are all manner of entrances, depending on who you are.

Especially at this 19th century Baptist Church which was the site of Civil War battle.

Nearly 4000 people were killed here. The same loss as one day of abortion.

The door in the foreground was for slaves. It leads to a set of tiny stairs completely partitioned off from the interior of the church. The stairs lead to the upper gallery – a three-sided balcony where slaves could participate in the service without mixing with the congregation below.

The near door on the left was for men.

The far door for women.

Everyone inside segregated from one another.

Maybe these doors are an indication of the architectural influence held by the social convention of the time, but they make me think of “The Narrow Gate” of Gospel fame whose way is hard but leads to life. Or the Eye of the Needle Gate, through which camels could pass only on their knees when all their baggage was removed. Or the first Mark of the Church: One.

We are one. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. We are One in Christ Jesus. Members of his body, the Church.

These different doors lead to the same sanctuary, but when each person is carried out in their casket, their souls will have to find the single gate to the Heavenly sheepfold: Jesus.

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