Friday, 27 November 2009

One small cut for man, one giant leap for Minnie


There is clearly a deep latticework of coincidence enmeshing each and every one of us and as editor of what has become Coincidence Month here on bitsnbobs I am on the constant lookout for any hook worth hanging the day’s post onto.

Yesterday Anne sent me the following comment.

I had a coincidence today, too: 
A friend suggested a game, opening the book closest to you to page 56 and writing out sentence number 5, and it turned out to be 
"He gave thanks for our food and comfort, and prayed for the poor and destitute in great cities, where the struggle for life was harder than it was here with us.” That’s Willa Cather, My Antonia. And today is ... 
Happy Thanksgiving, Chris!

Brilliant!

But….

The book closest to me – is that the book physically closest, or the book closest to being read at the moment? Or is it the book closest to my heart at the moment, or the all-time closest to my heart? Or was it a misspelling and she meant Closedest as in the most recently finished?

When I read her email version of the comment I was standing closest to the Oxford Collocations, hardly my first choice for such an activity.

Next to the bed is Treasure Island that I started reading at the beginning of the weekend and intend dipping into later.

Closest to my heart at the moment is the Hobbit which I bought the other day to reread but the closest to my heart all time would be……….well……… em……oh, I’ll wait ‘till someone’s asks.

And the closedest?

Well could be What’s the What which I have been reading for months but haven’t opened for the same - even though I haven’t finished.

And in the interim I finished Artremis Fowl and the Eternity Code.

Where should I start?

With the newspaper!!

Because at the same time as thinking about Anne’s friend’s suggestion I drove to town to buy (and subsequently forget to) washing up liquid.

Every Saturday, more or less, I go to the same town and buy the shop’s only copy of the Guardian Weekly. If I’m not quick, Mr Whomihavenevermet, or his wife, buys it and that’s that for another week.

Once the lady in the shop asked me if I would like to reserve it but I explained that I preferred the unpredictability and ‘week old news- ness’ aspect.

So it was quite a coincidence to find it still there on Thursday evening unsought and unread so I snapped it up and read a two-page article about Ina May Gaskin.

And that WAS a coincidence, because not only did I meet her once in a damp field in Tennessee but on two occasions in my life I have found someone’s placenta in the fridge.

Time to explain…..

…and of course that will lead to another coincidence as only yesterday I mentioned my former marriage for the first time in these pages (screens?) and it was she who had put the placenta in the fridge and been responsible for me meeting Ms Gaskin.

Ian May, among other things wrote a book called Spiritual Midwifery which became the “bible” for independent midwives like Billie and on a journey across America together she organised a visit to The Farm in Tennessee where Ms Gaskin was providing home births for a lot of women.

At the time Billie was offering the same service to women in London and the placenta took temporary refuge in our fridge before being analysed for whatever you analyse them for.

I didn’t want too much detail, just a coffee and a glass or orange juice.

My memory of The Farm was slightly disturbing as the folk living there had just installed a system whereby the founder and guru like leader was able to broadcast Sunday services direct into each house and there was so much love and devotion going on that I felt I was about to be brainwashed or spirited away into oblivion.

The damp didn’t help.

Nor did the recipe for placenta pie at the back of the book, even though it pointed out that for a vegetarian it was the only meat that you could eat that didn’t involve an animal suffering in some way.

The second time I had a placenta in the fridge was just after Minnie’s birth in the living room of the house where I live now.

No way was that going to be part of a pie; it had pride and place under the gooseberry bush earmarked for it/her.

Personally I wouldn’t go near a hospital if I could avoid it and I can’t imagine anyway more beautiful for giving birth than being at home and falling asleep in your own bed afterwards.

But I guess a lot depends on what your home is like.

One day just before the due date I thought - in a moment of my father’s practicality that I must have inherited somewhere – that I should see what the fastest possible journey time to the nearest hospital would be.

30 minutes, imagining someone in the back who needed to go fast but not bump.

It wasn’t necessary of course; I should never have doubted either Krissie’s determination, Fabienne (a midwife from Toulouse) and her expertise and Minnie’s gracefulness.

The only surprise was when Fabienne turned and offered me the scissors to cut your cord.

I hope it didn’t hurt.

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