Friday, April 21, 2023

the great mother


Motherhood is risky business. 

I was reminded of this when we lost a ewe earlier this week after an impossible birthing scenario - this sheep was just too small to pass her large lamb. Six hours in, after valiant efforts by Claire, Zoe, Mark and some very experienced birthing witches in our farming community, we put her down and also lost her lamb. This marks our 9th year of lambing our flock of Icelandic sheep, and this is the worst blow yet.

But so it goes in farming. We are reminded - every year without fail - that new life and death are bedfellows not to be untangled. The dangerous and exhilarating feeling of immanence is one I’ve gotten more accustomed to. How lucky to be at the mercy of the great Mother’s plan, and what relief to relinquish control to her.

On the timely subject of mothers; I’ve been lucky to have had many mothers (of course, one stands out) and I identify as a mother myself, though not with biological children of my own. Beyond the physical risk of bearing offspring, what truly risky business to be so attached and committed to anything or anyone. How we think about motherhood (care-taking, commitment, sacrifice, dare I say it - the divine feminine) is changing in strange and amazing ways amidst a post-human convergence; the crossroads where we come to practice responsibility for all people, species and environments with great reverence. 

I want a world focused on affirmative care, a world with so many people practicing motherhood. It’s hard work; we need sharp insight, deep energy reserves, focused collaboration, and an ability to fiercely imagine and build the worlds we want our offspring to inhabit. And we must not be shy in the face of great risk…

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