The Way In
Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.
Sometimes the way in is a song.
But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,
To enter stone, be water.
To rise through hard earth, be plant
desiring sunlight, believing in water.
To enter fire, be dry.
To enter life, be food.
— Linda Hogan
A year ago, standing in this yellow kitchen, leaning on the sink to wash dishes, I thought of childbirth. “We need to be born,” I said to David. “But how the hell is that going to happen?” We had a vision but couldn’t understand how to begin, which is to say, how to leave.
How do you choose childbirth – with the pounding back labor, the vomit-inducing contractions, and the fire-searing pain of the crowning? With the first child, you are gifted ignorance to endure the pain. And with the second, though you know exactly how much to dread the pain, you can also see clearly to the joy.
I am not ignorant to the pain of this change. Unlike childbirth, it afflicts me like a chronic condition. And I can’t see clearly to the joy because there so many questions: Who will join our community? How will we raise enough money? What land will be buy? Will we have to build a house? It is better when these questions wait patiently so that I can deal with what is at hand: Do we have enough boxes for our stuff? Will our children miss the community as much as I will?
I am looking for the way in to change. I am finding it in poetry and in song. I am finding it in silent prayer, in the Psalms, in giant sunflowers. “To rise through hard earth, be plant / desiring sunlight / believing in water.”