Tuesday, 22 February 2011


What happens if you die Mami? What happens if the baby dies? What happens if you and daddy both die? What happens if you and the baby die right now? Which of the neighbours would you want us to live with Mami? And Mami, who was the first person on this earth? And how could they be the first person if they are alone and no one is taking care of them to make them grow? Why do you cry Mami? What is north of the sky? Mami do you like beauty? What means beauty to you my lovely child? Love. And when you kiss me big hearts come out - they come out of the heart, forever and forever. Why do you shout at us Mami? When you are a child we will shout at you! Why do you suck your thumb and hold your Nuschi? Milk comes out of my thumb, it comes through that arm, and goes up the other arm and comes out of my thumb. A few days later she said that the milk was better on the left thumb. Sweeter perhaps. Laced with honey. The mountain tops were flooded with the morning light. Questions come and go. Sometimes they throw up flutterings of anxiety, and sometimes they bring peace. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Connecting not connecting - how can it be? Dull days where the excitement of movement all around has gone. Reaching out to feel and sense the other. Where are you? And yet, this is an adult's world. The children, they look, they talk, they walk, they move, they look again, at you, always you, checking with you to see what it is supposed to be and they are in connection, no question. It is me, as the adult, as their mother too, I sometimes don't listen, don't talk, don't walk, don't move, and don't look again, at them, and see in their eyes - the truth. And the upset when I deny the truth, in the adult world a normal occurrence, in fact desirable, in a child's world a confusing act of almost - violence. Their eyes, so pure, so questioning, so sparkly still, at least the eyes of my children. The eyes of the baby, like a bright beam, awake, profound, and looking into them, just them, just looking, is almost too intense to bear. How far I have travelled from that state. Difficult to believe, to imagine, to inhabit the idea that we all have been a baby. A human being. And what a being. And what a mystery. Where have you come from? And where will you go? Somehow the answer lies in those eyes. In that gaze towards me, his mother, towards others, enchanting and captivating, seeing and experiencing it transcends all theory and all supposed knowledge of what that gaze might mean. That night, when he was born, and lay in my arms, hour after hour, unwashed, skin to skin, something was deeply touched. As if the gentlest hand of all was bringing me and him, two souls, together, joining our hands and saying "here you go you two, now you two walk together in this life, have a go at being together". At Being. At connecting. Such a gift. Not mine to possess, not mine to judge or know about. Just a gift.  And with every hour gone, something else was gained, something that can't really be spoken about or matched with words. Something otherwordly. And again and again, I call upon myself, my Self, to not forget that gift, the gift of truth perhaps. An endeavour to connect, as therein lies the truth, lies salvation, lies love. 

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Happiness. Sticks and stones and earth. Not much more. A slate coloured sky, the promise of spring in the air. The children giddy with joy from playing outside with their friends, unsupervised, in their own world, unfettered from adult intervention. I dig the earth over, work the compost into the old patches, and they sigh with gratitude. A bit like the little one when he finally is offered a drink. His lips purse, his arms and legs jet into the air and kick, and he squeals with pure joy. That’s happiness. Being able to feed, nature or babe, that’s happiness. Lighting a little fire, and even though, it doesn’t quite manage to get going, the smell of the smoke fills the air, fills my heart, is happiness. I am happy, I am happy, I am happy I whisper to myself. And I realise, for the first time, I am not afraid that the mere uttering of the words will wipe out the feeling and bring calamity upon me and upon anything I love. Happiness. Sticks and stones and earth. Not much more. Yet so much more. 

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Mythical Bear on crossing the Channel

From a young age I was sure I wanted to marry a man. This was sealed when we once crossed the channel to visit family in England when I was about seven. It was a stormy night, and a lot of passengers were sea sick, including my whole family. Except my father, who ran from one to the other, mopping up sick and trying to calm us down. Even though clearly the seas were not going to relent. It was in this commotion of sea sickness and upheaval where the calm of one being stood out. He must have been taking care of us in some way and I remember him towering in front of me. He was an African man, of huge proportions, and he felt reassuringly solid and kind. Like a hero, steady and serene like a rock. The mythical bear. As I stood there, taking him in, time slowed down. He bent down to me. What I remember most were his hands. They were like huge paddles, and as they were making their way down to me....he simply stroke the top of my head. Immediately I fell in love with him and a thought accompanied that powerful feeling: ‘one day, when I will be a grown up, I will marry a black man and have lots of black babies’. I have married, not a black man, so consequently bore no black babies. But black babies featured highly in my dreams and in my work for years. Once when one of my twin girls played alongside her black friend on the kitchen floor I thought ‘why is she not black’. And my favourite dolls were black. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Birth of the Mother

I know the precise moment, when the embodiment of being Mother, their mother, came into being. 

It was a beautiful warm summer, when they were two. They were running around on their stumpy chubby legs, tirelessly, so it seemed. In particular, there was a constant on and off the potty, one bright red, the other white with a yellow duck on the front, and cheers all round when finally a poo dropped into their container. 

We staid in a big renovated barn in the countryside with a group of people. And although everybody went off in the morning to do their creative work, which previously would have filled me with unbearable yearnings, and I was left alone with my two girls in this infinitely big barn, harbouring the energy of beasts and hay, something clicked, and I started to embrace the challenge of being in charge of them and making the best out of this holiday for the three of us. 

Daily I packed them into the trailer and discovered the countryside by bike, pointing out the abundance of nature, and stopping for treats;  croissants and ice cream - of course. A memorable moment  was when I was hauling them up a hill full of sheep, trailer and all, getting mucky with sheep turd, and the two them, in their rudimentary two year old language babble, cheering me on from the back of the trailer! 

And in the evenings, as the fifteen or so of us were all gathered around the massive oak table fit for a medieval castle, enjoying food I had volunteered cooking, I swelled with pride and love, as if I was looking onto my very own big family. 

In that moment I became the mistress of the house of life, one of the many names Isis is known as. Mother, the source of life, the hearth of creation, the creator of life and death.