Just a few days ago we were floating in a hot spring, rusty, opaque, iron-rich, tasting of blood, flowing from deep in the earth. I felt buoyant, safe. I carried Ash, the baby in the womb between us. We, its parents, curled around it, felt we were in turn held in a kind of womb, the warm water sanguine and close, an echo of when we were yet to be born. In this place where my ancestors were born and were parents and died.
For humanity to exist there has been our unbroken chain of life, the blending of sex, sperm and egg, the child growing in the living mother. In our culture we think of each person as separate and distinct, but there is this unbreakable link between us and the life we grew from, what created us, and the future, the life we create. Jeffers’ ever-returning waves of grass, equaling the life of a mountain. One conscious note in the sweep of the perdurable. What John Berger calls the dead, not absent but surrounding everything we do, our most basic context.
So on that small wild island, outcrop of volcanic rock thrusting out of the Atlantic, I felt both foreign and native. The land I have grown from, that made me, by food, air, scent and sight, is the California coast, and in my blood, my genes, this wave of life through time that is my ancestry, is this volcanic soil, this ocean wind, these island forests thick with bird song. The blood of beef cattle, the thick pasture grass.