One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Landscape of the Body

This week my almost-eleven year old son watched a puberty video in Health Education class.

This week my just-nine year old daughter had her well-check visit and she and our doctor spent a bit of time talking about emerging breasts and not-so-distant-future periods.

This week my four year old daughter told me her brain and her body could do anything.

This week my husband realized that he was coming out of a slight too-much-dark-and-too-much-winter depression and felt more energy and more space in his body than he had felt in the last few months.

And me? This week I had a very-small-all-things-considered scare with my health* that turned out (gratefully, gratefully) just fine.

As I sat cross-legged at the end of yoga class this morning, and as I held my hands in a prayer position just in front of my heart, and as my teacher Diane asked us to take a moment to thank our bodies, in our own way, for holding, bending, stretching, balancing through the last hour and a half I thought about—

            —deepening voices
            legs growing long
            pubic hair
            wet dreams
(well, it’s true!  My son asked about them at dinner two nights ago and we spent the entire table time engaged in a thorough and awesome and honest conversation about sex…)
            arms building muscles
            made-up songs
            made-up dances
            focused minds
            calm hearts
            and healthy bodies—

—and I made a promise to myself: to continue to engage in a process of knowing and loving all of the pieces of my body as they change and strengthen and grow, and to continue to teach my children the same. And you? What can you promise yourself about your amazing brains and bodies?

I leave you with this, by my favorite poet of all time, Mary Oliver.


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Gratitude to you all.


* My brother just emailed me very worried about my health.  Ooops.  I forgot that I hadn't mentioned the scare to him or the rest of my family, because it had come and gone so fast. So for their sakes and for the sake of openness, I had to have an ultrasound on a dense mass seen on my annual mammogram, but it turned out to be (on my knees here) nothing. xxoo


  1. Thanks for sharing, Tam. Glad you're all healthy, and loved the poem!

  2. Gratitude to our amazing bodies (they are, after all) should probably be a regular practice. Your and Sharry's poetic and reverent posts are a calm respite in otherwise frenzied cyberspace (and glad your health is A-OK)

  3. Love this - and so glad everything is okay!