Sunday Jul 13, 2003
A Date with Nature
Today is my birthday. It’s a pleasant summer evening. The moon is complete and fitting for this moonchild in the promised land.
My Mother and I went to the California Pizza Kitchen for some light fare.
As we spoke, my birth came up. “What time was I born?” I asked.
“About nine in the morning,” said my mother. “You were born awake. Your eyes were wide open.”
“I’m sure you were glad when that was over,” I said.
Mom shrugged. “Things were different then. It’s not like giving birth in a hospital now.”
I was born after the second World War in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
“How was it different?”
“When I was ready to give birth to you, the labor pains were intense. A camp official transported me and a forty-something midwife in an open truck to a clinic about three quarters of an hour away. After a hard and bumpy ride, we arrived at the clinic in a nearby town. The midwife took me to a small room with an army cot. She told me to lie down and that she would be right back. I was twenty years old and very scared. It was just the walls, me, and the cot.
“Right back turned into two hours later and, at that point, I had no more energy left to scream from the pain. The midwife took a look at me and said: ‘Oh, I always knew you could do it. It’s almost here.’”
“By this time, you were already more than half out. So, then she said: ‘You have a beautiful baby boy.’
“I managed not to pass out before I took a good look at you. Then, I don’t remember anything until hours later when the midwife brought you back for me to nurse.
I said: “Before they had clinics or hospitals, women were giving birth.”
My mother said: “Yes, and a lot of them, the children and the mothers didn’t make it.”
Yes, my mother had brought up another mother—Mother Nature—and the insight was not lost on me.
Nature in not interested in the individual. It is up to the individual, the artist, to court nature, which always demures to the spark of evolution that wants to be born.»
With the advent of the chimney, the hearth moved from the center of the room to one wall, and the first brick-and-mortar hearths were built. The fire was lit on top of the construction; a vault underneath served to store wood. Pots made of iron, bronze, or copper started to replace the pottery used earlier.