Compounded

Contemplate the patience it takes to birth a being

The first time I heard Nina Simone sing “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” I had just returned to work after becoming a new mother. I felt as scooped out as a gourd and was still deeply bruised by the process. Everything fragile and good seemed to hinge on keeping this new flame lit as it flickered through a myriad of impossible variations. None of my friends had babies yet and I could sense them falling slowly away. I was lonesome and in love and sleep deprived and foreign to myself.  I sat at the compound with Lesley McKinley and Marye and Katie came by.  For hours we listened to music and talked and took turns dandling my daughter.  I had one glass of wine and then another.  That persistently frightened self within myself began to leave off its chatter.  I left and drove down Indian School.  It was warm but overcast, and large, sloppy drops of rain fell on my windshield.  Nina Simone’s faraway voice, with its spread out stillness and its subtle snags of sorrow, sang “who knows where the time goes” and then repeated it because it matters that much.  At the light, on my right, a very pregnant woman was struggling to wrangle a toddler under the bus shelter.  She was young and lovely and also alone.  We are accountable to every single thing we create and the burden of this fact  may very well be our undoing.  I began to wonder as I watched her.  And then Nina hit a note with such shimmering determination I thought the whole street had leaned in to listen.

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