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finding our bearings

when the press of everything threatens us

Whitewater rafter on rapids
source: shutterstock

one of the amazing truths of being a human is that, aside from small temporal details, there is nothing new under the sun. one of the problems of being human, though, is our very, very short memory, both individually and culturally, and our tendency to forget that other people both contemporary and historical really have been-there-done-that. not only have they been there, they've in many cases left us wise reflections, cautionary tales, and sometimes, if we're lucky, instructive templates on doing the things that we so often feel rudderless attempting to do.

one of the great gifts to me, of these lean times since the school where i worked closed, has been the time it carved out for me to begin reading again. to read what i wanted to read, not what i was assigned to read. when i started graduate school in 2007, i probably had 1000+ pages of assigned reading each week of english literature from beowulf to milton, of the copious and usually dry, old-white-dude academic commentaries thereon, of feminist theory and its discontents, of anthropological study, of pedagogical theory... i was delightfully swamped, but i had zero time to read for pleasure.

all of that rolled right into midwifery school, where helen varney burst, susan tucker blackburn, ina may gaskin, and robbie davis-floyd filled my days (i guess having three names gives you more birth cred? hey, i'm set!). still, no time to read other things. when i finished midwifery school, i thought that would change, but i soon found myself drowning in both doing and teaching the work, and all i could justify doing with my free time was getting out of the house and onto the trail.