Babies and community
Anderson Valley is experiencing a baby boomlet. If you attended the Friday evening of the last Variety Show you were treated to one of the most memorable skits - lots of pregnant bellies with faces painted upon them, dancing around the stage to a Liza Minelli song. The skit started with one belly, then another, then another and so forth, in many ways just like life; first I’d see or hear of someone who is pregnant, then another and another.
I was lucky enough to attend the baby shower for one of these women this past Saturday. I was reminded so well how much a part of community babies really are. The friend we were gathered to celebrate originally did not want a shower; fortunately, we all pressured her enough to have one. The room was mainly filled with younger women, many of them also expecting babies this year, but also some older women. Babies and celebrating their arrival is the other side of the coin to all of the recent deaths our community has experienced. They are the continuation of what has been before - of their families, of the work put into this community, of our country and our world.
Much of the afternoon was simply spent visiting one another while enjoying some food and drink. Toward the end of the event we were led outside into the sunshine for a more “formal” ritual. We all stood in a circle as a ball of yarn was passed, like a football, across to each other. Each recipient of the yarn placed it securely around her wrist, then listed her name, her mother’s name and her grandmothers’ names, then the names of any children they have. It was so beautiful to hear the names ring out, to feel that continuity, to bring my own ancestors into this circle of women.
The afternoon ended with each of us receiving a candle to be lit when we were told that the guest of honor had gone into labor. A phone tree is being created to notify all of us so that we can continue to hold her in the circle we had created.
Anderson Valley has one of the best communities I know of. I have written about it before and will do so again. I am so pleased to call this place home and these women friends. Here’s to all the babies and their families, may they increase the bonds of our community long into the future.