A couple of nights ago, I woke up to pee (as I do just about every hour) and couldn't get back to sleep, so I decided to go outside with hopes of seeing the meteor shower. I haven't been outside at three in the morning for a long time, and it was a revelation. Redlands is darker than Riverside at night (less streetlights, perhaps) so stars are much more visible here--nothing like being out in the desert or the mountains, of course, but all the major constellations were sharp and bright as I stood with my head tipped back, lots of other stars twinkling inside and around them. The silence and the vastness of the night enveloped me; what a relief to feel connected to something bigger than myself.
The end of pregnancy is such an inward-focused time. Life churns along, but it's hard to focus on much else other than the moment to moment sensations--all the twinges and aches, Asher's sweet movements (and the worry when I haven't felt them for a while)--not to mention all my fears and excitement about impending labor and birth. It's easy to feel so vulnerable during this time; that was only amplified when my 19 year old son was hit by a car last week while he was biking. He's thankfully okay--just banged up--but it was a stark reminder of how quickly life can change, how precious and precarious is our time on this planet. Labor and birth bring us right up against that precariousness. My friend and mentor Alma Luz Villanueva wished me a glorious "trip through the center of the Cosmos" and I thought that was a perfect image for birth--we go into the hot molten center of the earth and out into the vastness all at once.
Standing outside in my rented back yard, looking up at the stars, I started to feel more fortified for that journey. It started to feel less about me, about my own little life, my own little fears (that can feel so big) and more about being connected to the greater cycle of life. I didn't see any meteors that night, but I felt like one, myself--something temporary, just passing through, hopefully blazing a little on the way.