Sunday, February 11, 2007

life's seasons

I have three prints on my studio wall. I bought them in the tiny English fishing village of Mevagissey, Cornwall, several years ago while visiting family.

Something intangible drew me to the women in the prints; I studied their faces and the unspoken details of their body language. Each had a silent strength about them, a look of quiet courage deep in their eyes.

They represented three generations of a native Indian family, each understanding and embracing their individual and collective responsibilities within the tribe. They were women who could climb over or around any obstacle; who would do whatever it took to keep those close to them safe and warm and loved.

Each of the women became instantly symbolic of the three generations of women in my family. Myself and my sister; my mother, and grandmother. I’ve seen the prints that way for almost a decade, periodically drawing strength from the still courage and hushed knowing in each of the women’s faces.

But life goes on and the eldest of our generation died just weeks before my eldest niece-and-God-child, and her twinkle-eyed Irish partner, began their own family.

I knew that in the measures of time, things had shifted. I knew that we’d lost a generation, gained a new one. I knew that in theory I was no longer represented by the youngest member of the three strong Native Indian women hanging on my wall—and that I had a new role to fulfill in life’s cycles. Still, I was reluctant to move up, to be represented by the older, middle generation.

But when I flew to England and held my great-niece for the first time, what I already understood on an intellectual level, shifted on a more spiritual level.

I loved this baby from the second she was born, before I even saw her. And as I felt and smelled and kissed her soft skin, blew raspberries on her long fidgety legs, pulled up the pale pink socks around her ankles, I loved her even more.
I knew with fleeting, bittersweet emotion, that with the birth of this precious beautiful being the seasons had moved on without me. And by the forces of nature—like it or not/ready or not—I had already moved up to the middle of our tribe.


Ces Adorio said...

Oh being in love is wonderful and it never fails with babies. Your niece has the most beautiful eyes!

Ant said...

Cutest. Baby. Ever.


Yasmine Galenorn said...

Back yet? Missing our visits. And those prints are amazing, and yes, there ocmes a point where you go, "I'm in the front generation now" and it's scary because there's no one there to catch you if you should fall.


Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I think the Native Americans say that you never truly become a man until your father dies.

MSU gal said...

great post

there is a time for everything under the sun...

Cazzie!!! said...

What a touching post, love it, and I know that feeling, having had 4 of my own kids, we want to be here forever to be with them, watch them grow and you never want to leave, but we know, in the cycle of life, it just won't be forever.

Bibi said...

Ces, thank you. Of course I'm biased and can't wait to see her again!!

Ant, I agree ;-)

Yasmine, I don't mind falling, just want to continue having fun! Lots of it!

Ultra toast ... I've heard that said too.

Mugal ... yep, a season for everything. It's just frightening how quickly time flies by.

Cazzie, thank you. Four kids ... you've been a super busy lady and I hope you're still enjoying them! ;-)