Let me start with this glad tiding. Audrey Autumn Hamilton was born on the Autumn Equinox, September 22, 2016, weighing 9 lbs, 9 ounces. It was a hard birth but Audrey was big and strong. Though I didn’t attend her birth (Elena represented us), I did feel the awesome life force energy in my body during her entrance to the world and in the room right after she arrived on planet earth.
The life force is the same thing that stirred in my own fight to be healthy and overcome cancer. Completely fierce and completely from the animal body, it rises like a big wave from the ocean, inspiring awe and sometimes terror. It is the elemental energy that gives life and takes life. I am so grateful that I was given a chance to be a grandmother.
Audrey’s birth has been life changing for me. As her grandmother, I am answerable for helping to create the world she will inherit. Which brings me the second life changing event. On a day few of us are likely to forget, Donald Trump became the president elect of this country. I am just barely finding words again so for now, I have to let grief find my truth. I learned how important this is when you need it during the year of cancer. It was an essential lesson for a time like this. Now, our country shudders toward foreboding and our planet’s climate shifts to something ominous. I have keened for the precarious future. I have also felt the seismic shifts and changes in the fabric of commonly held concepts amongst my progressive friends. We have pulled back and recognized the ways that we ourselves participated in the election of Trump: our non action, our laziness, our ignorance, not wanting to push outside our comfort zones and our willingness to post and spread half and non truths that were on “our side”.
You, my sweet Audrey– you will not have the luxury and the delusions of the era before Trump. You will be a warrior–because you will have to be– and all of us who care about the future will be at your side. Becoming Grandmother has reminded me that there is no retirement. We may come to live under Trump’s administration (though, even now, I keep praying for a miracle). But we also live in an America where Indigenous people are rising and defending the sacred. They are showing us the way of life, to be on this planet with all the odds stacked against them but for their traditions and prayers, family and community. I am so grateful for their courage and leadership.
You are also sacred, Audrey, and the dear and tender Earth is sacred. You are the Future I pledge myself to. My saddened heart is uplifted by you. I pledge not to give up, to keep fighting for your and the planet’s future. I hope we come to know each other as we do this side by side. I pledge to keep joy and beauty, family and laughter and nature in your life. It is true, “The darkness around us is deep.” (see poem below) but your very presence shines a light on our path, in your innocence and your power to buckle us to our knees with love for you. Thank you for reminding me of why I am still alive and showing us what the work is for all of us. Here is a poem by a loved and trusted poet with great wisdom– William Stafford. The last stanza is espeically poignant at this time in our history.
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.