|Frozen Waters of the Pond|
|Grass in Ice Vases|
|Dazzling Light on Ice|
|Waves of Frozen Water|
|Window of Bubbles|
|Blue Heron's Log|
|Cracks Welding Ice|
|Looking Back at the House|
|Introducing Miss Alyson Rose|
This generality is felt across the world, time and cultures by women who labor and give birth; by men who hold tiny newborns in their rough-from-work hands; by toddlers who climb up on the couch to hold a new baby sister for the first time. These amazing moments I ponder as I walk out onto ice.
When it comes to frozen water, my faith wavers. How thick is the ice; what is it anchored to; when is the best time of day to try such a daring maneuver; how deep is Elmira Pond? Questions dizzy me at the shoreline; my mind buzzes like the bees in August. Tufts of dry grass stand erect as if standing in a vase of ice.
Last Monday, my niece posted an anxious smiley and I knew...she was standing at the edge of the ice. Nine months pregnant, overdue and a mother knows when labor is pending and all the questions buzz. Can I do this; will she be okay; is the world strong enough to support the labor of a woman?
Tuesday morning, January 21 the sun is dazzling upon the ice. I wonder about my niece, how she is doing and if my great-niece has yet entered into this bright world. Women are brave for many reasons, and giving birth ranks at the top. Knowing how brave my niece is, I decide to muster up the courage to walk on frozen water. Just one step.
Reeds like skinny tentacles reach out of the ice. Another step. Water frozen in waves not yet touching shore. Another step. Bubbles frozen in a glass window remind me to breathe. Deep calming breaths. Another step. Blue Heron's log juts out of the ice in the distance and I head toward it until my feet refuse to move and my legs quiver.
Once in labor there is no going back. You can't spin around on your winter boots and skitter back the way you came. You have to see it through. Maybe it's such an amazing experience--giving birth--because it forces you to overcome fear. Even the fathers, grandmothers and friends all waiting have to overcome fear. Time slows down and everyone is taking deep shuddering breaths, issuing silent prayers and checking the clock every 10 seconds until the newborn takes her first breath. Relief.
Standing on the ice, looking at cracks that seem to weld pieces of the pond in place, I feel like a quaking conqueror. I am standing on Elmira Pond; I am on the ice. Looking back at the house I have the birds-eye view. Not the over-head view, but the view the migratory birds have when they are summering in this space. A new view is an amazing thing.
New life gives us the gift of that new view. I walk off the ice and into the house to check my messages. Alyson Rose Medina joined the tribe of Mills and Gerry women just after noon on January 21. My niece, Sam, did well with her midwives and she is nestled at home with her family. Life is amazing.