Friday, June 25, 2010

The Farm

As I listen to the crickets outside my window, I'm reminded that last summer at this time, I was having dinner with Ina May Gaskin, and the midwives, at The Farm. I did a medicinal plant workshop for a week, with Wendel Combest, a Ph.D, who holds three degrees; one in botany, one in pharmaceuticals and one in herpetology. We identified plants, harvested them, macerated, distilled, steeped, and infused them into an apothecary of potions to cure all ills and to beautify the spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed this visit and vowed to return to the Farm at my every opportunity. I've been told that if you intend to live there, you must visit three times to even be considered. I now have four visits under my belt for the day when all hell breaks loose. You just never know. Besides, I revel in the experience my children get from creeks that are crystal clear, tadpoles that are plentiful and water you can drink from the tap.

Contrary to most of my friends, I had never read 'Spiritual Midwifery' by Ina May until after I'd had two natural water births. I was living in the UK for my first baby and wasn't familiar with the book. My knowledge of birth is largely UK based as this is where I absorbed all the information I could get my hands on. By the time I'd had my second, at home, (and in the US), I wasn't looking for guidance from books, I was looking for sleep! Still, to be in the presence of Ina May, even if you don't know a thing about her, is highly intimidating. I could feel that I was in the presence of Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth. Her aging, frail exterior contradicts her hot, often trashy, little mouth in a way that made me hesitate to ask any of the questions I thought I'd reserve for her. I'm just not used to little ladies using the 'c' word quite so freely. I quietly savored the locally grown, organic arugula and listened curiously.

This recent trip was with one of my girlfriends and four of our little girls to just get away, catch frogs, and to pick up several bottles of home-brewed blueberry wine from my friend, Deb, the yoga teacher and founding member of The Farm. We stayed at the eco-village and decided to truly rough it by forfeiting our second room and opting for a true slumber party. We weren't counting on the brown recluse sightings to terrify the little ones and force all six of us into one king size bed but it happened. There were so many kids in the bed that I got out and wandered through the house, trying to find something to eat. Instead I happened upon Nate from SF, a journalist, who is writing a book comparing home birth to hospital birth, breastmilk, raw milk and all the nuances of nutritional trends; Weston Price, Sally Fallon etc. Ahhhh... my favorite topics. I could've talked for a week straight but he was watching Ina's birth videos as reference and my friend and I were mesmerized watching breech birth after breech birth (at very close focus) for the next three hours. Had I seen such things before I gave birth, I'm not sure I would've been so brave. So, a year later, I share a little bit of love from the love commune...