Monday, March 24, 2008

Women Alive

I am reading about Birth Control in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. This is for my Women and Health class. That course has been made up in a large part of student oral presentations. Margaret Sanger, a public health nurse from the early 20th century, was one of eleven children! I am an only child, and it is quite a leap to imagine having ten brothers and sisters! I suppose family gatherings would be quite different in such a large family. Sanger opened the first birth control clinic for women in the United States, in New York City. I've wished before that I had grown up in an earlier century. Traditional, self-sufficient, pioneering lifestyles that are "close to the land" appeal to me. However, dying because I gave birth to 11 children I do not envy.
My parents and I used to spend time in the chalet of one of my Dad's co-workers near Calabogie. There was no running water there, only a hand pump and an outhouse. There was also a woodstove. We would go there to cross-country ski. I used to love the sound of the water pump. You would start pmping the handle, and no water would come at first, then all of a sudden the water would come gushing out and stopping the stream was not as easy. The water was ice cold and fresh. We would have to ski in, and a couple of times we left after nightfall, wearing headlamps whose beams cut across the snow, illuminating narrow bands of forest and track. I miss those days.
I baked a Ukrainian Poppy Seed Cake for Easter, recipe here. I didn't make the glaze though, as I didn't have the recipe. I decided to bring the cake to my parents', but found out that my Mom had baked the exact same cake! Mine returned home with me, to be taken to work, most likely. The first time Mom baked that cake was for a Spring Equinox Ritual we both attended, a joint celebration put on by Around the Goddess, which I was involved with, and the Women's Spirituality Group. At that time, my parents and I belonged to an organic food co-op, and another woman who was also a member of the co-op was at the ritual with her daughter. My then-mentor, Kathleen Leeson, had also attended. I had a wonderful time at that ritual. I had been responsible for the smudging, and I had bought some dried Lavender and Rose flowers to burn--the smell was incredible! There were many participants due to the combining of the two groups, and we made a lot of smoke; when Kathleen arrived she said she would just walk through the portal of smoke! The ritual and feasting took place a hall in a church. Mom had also brought flowers, as had many other women.
I will hold back on writing any poetry about spring...according to Mr. Carpenter from the Emily series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, more trash has been written about spring than any other subject! I recently bought a copy of this book at a hole-in-the-wall, musty old secondhand book den in early March. I could have explored the shop for hours, but it was getting dark. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

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