Tuesday, November 23, 2010


"There is love, and it is a deep thing
but there are deeper things than love.

First and last, man is alone.
He is born alone, and alone he dies
and alone he is while he lives, in his deepest self."

~ D. H. Lawrence

I tip-toe down the pitch black stairs, feeling out the memorized contours with the pads of my feet. I come around the soft corner into the kitchen and see the snow phosphorescent in the night.

Ah. Exhale. Everything in me breathes the deep breath out I didn't realize I'd been holding in my hunched up shoulders all day. I start the fire, I turn on one lamp, just one, and I let go a deep, chest-emptying breath again.

Sometimes I go to bed so bone-tired it actually hurts, but when I still can't fall asleep I usually follow my self downstairs to figure out that my body has a deeper need, a more immediate one, than sleep.

It needs alone. It needs, no what's a bigger word than need? Whatever it is, it has that for quiet. For the hush, the peace, the calm of sitting alone - all alone - with just my thoughts and the stillness and time.

It's that open-ended time part that is key, too. Time squished is not time alone. It's rushed and pressured and hurried and now.  But this time, the middle of the night (even for a non-night-owl) is sometimes the panacea, just the exact right thing, the body needs.

It's not quiet, but it's silent. I can hear the wind battering everything loose outside, rattling. I can hear the snow picked up and whistled and whirled, swishing past my house. I can see the lace pink-glittering curtains and outline of a familiar rosy lampshade that I saw as I came down the stairs.

A better me would think of all the people out in this cold right now, freezing, and I would hurt for them. But tonight I have only a mama's heart. A tired mama in a clean house, laundry done, math accomplished, cooking started, dinner made, piano dusted kind of tired. But resolute, too.

A mama is a mama to the core, it's bone, bone deep. But a mama is also a woman first. A woman in need of a reminder that there is more than cleaning the fish-bowls, more than doing the dishes, more than checking in on petal-soft murmuring cheeks.

A mama is who I am at 2am alone in the house while everyone else breaths in, out, the air that is clean. Bedrock replaced, I sit in the oxygen of complete and perfect silence.

And that is what I do.

"Love, like the flowers, is life, growing.
But underneath are the deep rocks, the living rock that lives alone
and deeper still the unknown fire, unknown and heavy, heavy
and alone.

Love is a thing of twoness, and is lovely
like the living life on the earth...

All this is deeper than love
deeper than love."

D. H. Lawrence


Anonymous said...

This speaks volumes ... I don't even really know how to say how this spoke to me except, thank you for the reminder, "But a mama is also a woman first."

Misha Leigh. said...

Thanks, Shanna. I know - it is something I have been thinking about so much the last couple weeks.

It's not sad or bad - but it can be. It's not lonely, but sometimes it is. It's not worrisome but I do think a lot about this new shift in understanding and I think it's something to do with other factors (kids getting older, stages of marriage, etc) It's new growth for me. New stepping out.

There is something there I am just getting in touch with and I am not even sure (at all!) how to put it into words myself. This was my first little attempt.

Anyhow - I always so appreciate your feedback. It helps me think. : )

Happy Thankful Week to you guys!

Nikki said...

This is so thought-provoking to me. For most of my life I've been able to have, relatively easily, chunks of this quiet aloneness you talk about. The past few years have found me less and less alone, less and less silent; it is hard sometimes even to recognize the need that you so eloquently express. Yet it's there. And I am better able to be me when I embrace this need and it's fulfillment.

deb said...


Misha Leigh. said...

Nikki - It is my constant challenge to prioritize (what someone many years ago called:) "my keel." The depth that I give to what is unseen in me, creates the stability that weathers out storms.

emily wierenga said...

yes. a mama is a mama first. i love that you find yourself at 2 am.