Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Wandering (Part 2)

We had both known this was coming. I guess Ignose had forgotten, in the pain. My heart plummeted.

“Can I move into the village?” She begged. “So I can be with my daughter? She was born in the sea. She was born in the sea. Please don't take her.”

The Ogna's face twisted. I thought for a moment she was going to strike Ignose. I dropped my bundle and dashed in front of her, prostrating myself in the dirt.

“She did not mean it, Ogna. She is distraught. Please, I will take the baby to Paqia before I bathe.”

The silence stretched, and when I finally raised my face from the ground, Ogna May's winkles were set like stony crags. Her eyes were kind, though. She nodded to me, and I stood, and took the baby from her arms.

“What is her name?” I asked Ignose, who was glaring at me through a wash of tears.

“Ryia,” Ignose said, her voice wracked with pain. “Her name is Ryia.”

“Ryia,” I said. A good name. “Do not worry,” I said, and turned quickly.

Paqia's hut was in the village with the spear-sisters, those who defended against the cursed clans, those who hunted and sported and fished. This, I knew, was the third time she had returned from the sea empty handed, but she had borne it well. She had always been kind to me. But Ignose, she hated. I do not know why.

As I walked, I swung my bundle quietly. The infant was asleep. She had dark skin, like the nights when the moons were all new. No eyelashes, yet. Fuzzy hair like soft moss crowned her head. 

She was beautiful. I smiled, watching her chest rise and fall and feeling her warmth seep into my arm. 

It was a bit cumbersome, walking with her, and my things for washing, but I managed. I wound around the path—the path from the village to the sea, where Ignose and I had made our home, and thought.

I thought, I need a plan.

Paqia's hut was empty of sisters, the grass pallets spread across the floor like discarded husks, the hollow indentations showing where each body would lay at night. It was quiet. I paused in the doorway, trying to imagine what sleeping next to so many women would be like. What living in the village must be like. A pang like a slap of seawater washed over me, but I set my face as stone. Thoughts and emotions were dangerous here, in the village where I did not belong.

But thoughts washed over me regardless of my inhibitions. I forgot Ryia, snoozing in my arms, and I forgot my bunched clothes and bathing requirements. And I allowed myself to dream. In the deepest depths of my soul I would like to be a weaver. Wielding the spear held no interest to me, but weaving! Oh, it did. I had helped Ignose weave our mats and lean-to every year since I could remember, and our clothes. Even she had said it was much better than she had done alone. I wished to stretch my skill, to have access to the soft plants those in the village cultivated instead of fumbling with my foraged cuttings.

A weaver. As I was two hands old now, I would be in my first year of apprenticeship. I eyed the warp and weft of the hut before me, and the leaves that padded the underside of the pallets. I imagined the spear-sisters reclining here, laughing together, sharing stories of their hunts and battles while they ate the choice meats and drank the fragrant bone broth from their hunts.

The baby stirred in my arms, reminding me of my purpose, and I took a step back. I had almost entered the hut.

Gulping in horror, I whipped my head around. No spear-sisters were visible.

I immediately ducked my head, backed away from the hut, and began to search the village. I should not dream thus. Especially not here.

I passed by the rest of the grass huts easily—where the weavers, the maidens, foragers, child-minders, the fishers slept. Beyond them lay the the inner circle, housing the elderly too old to work, who kept the fire-pits hot and the sauna steamy, and the Blessed, like the Ogna. Many of the women were gathered around the central fires with bowls of fish stew. It smelled delicious and made my stomach rumble, even though I had just eaten.

I didn't see Paqia's dark form or any of the spear-sisters with their short hair and breeches cut for running, so I kept walking. Beyond the fire pit lay the work huts, where the weavers wove and the women processed fish and game. I had to pause and kneel as two maidens walked by, their hair braided like mine. I heard the soft scuffing of their feet scrape as I clutched the sleeping Ryia, but they did not speak to me.

I counted two hands after they passed, and rose to stuff Ryia's fingers into her mouth. She had woken. Her eyes were dark and full, like two twin moons below her peaked brows. She latched immediately and began suckling her hand like her life depended on it. An old trick, I'd seen many of the women do.

Beyond the huts were the fields, with knee-high plants and climbing, half grown kai pushing sun-ward. I hesitated. If the spear-sisters were hunting, I would never find them. Maybe I should bathe first, and check with the Ogna again.

I turned to double back, chewing on the inside of my cheek. Plan. Plan. I still needed a plan. So lost in thought I was, as I rounded the corner of a work-hut, that I ran right into someone.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

7 months

Last May I was bedridden with either lyme or chronic EBV. After stumbling around in the dark (and getting worse) and around $500 later, I did a round of buhner herbs followed by the gaps diet and pronounced myself cured. Slowly I have been working on my digestion which was wrecked by the caustic lyme herbs. Today, I am happy to say my digestion is at a great place!! I can eat things I have not been able to eat in years and not be in pain... its great.

But four weeks ago my lyme started to come back. At first I didn't realize; it was slow. I thought I needed more sleep or more exercise; but one morning two weeks later, I realized these were the same symptoms I had presented with all those months ago. It was lyme (or EBV, really I can't tell). 

Here are my symptoms: 

1) Extreme fatigue. I wake up like I didn't sleep at all. I feel more tired in the morning than I was the night before when I went to bed. Mornings are rough. I am exhausted. Everything is hard. 

2) Pain in the back of my head, down my spine, sometime radiates to my shoulders or all over (joint/inflammation pain)

3) Low grade fever basically all the time

I decided to try if I could wait it out. I mean, I have some of the herbs but didn't want to shell out another 200-300$ for the ones I would have to replace if I didn't need too. I tried sleeping more and started a few supplements. I tried the gaps diet, again. Nothing worked--my symptoms remained. So yesterday I started on some Buhner herbs again, through I know the herbs make my heart palpitations worse and also lower my blood pressure and cause gut irritation. I have to make a choice--and the choice is I need the herbs because I have to function.

I thought I was done treating this. I didn't realize it would come back. Seven months of normalacy made me forget about how serious lyme is. It steals all your joy, all your energy. I was sleeping all the time again and irritable from the pain. I was (and still am) discouraged. But you know what? God knows that I was/am going to deal with lyme and EBV. He gives us suffering to bring glory to himself-- just read the book of Job to learn all about suffering and redemption! God is so good. I won't collapse in despair or give  up. 

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong...Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

I am not like Job, but I want to be. I am weak. I complain when I have piles of laundry sometimes! Even when I am in pain, and my body fails me, I will endeavor to be more like Job who did not sin and was wise to understand that following God is not all sunshine and rainbows. We are going to suffer. And yes, it is disappointing and yes it is hard but I am going to try to lean on God and not turn towards him and not to self-pity or self-loathing. God is good and he is here. I am not alone.

I would love some prayers as I gear up to fight lyme again. I'm feeling the same feelings of last summer--I had so many plans that we didn't get to do in 2020 because of covid and because of my chronic illness. I had planned them all for this year, and now am having trouble walking to the bathroom and back, so...we will see what this year holds. I will have to change my expectations once again. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Snow day!

Last year we had no snow! This year we have had two snow days. I know if you live up north you may be tired of snow; here we rarely get any. Snow is such a treat!

Looking back at these pictures reminds me how blessed I am and how wonderful God is. He is good and I should complain less. I have a beautiful family, a wonderful home, and am not hungry. God is good!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Wandering (Part 1)

It is official. I have too many hobbies. Maybe that is why I never seem to finish things. I jump from this to that and back again-- knitting, blogging, videos, writing, painting, music. I love being creative. Anyway, I wrote another story and will be posting parts of it weekly. Thursday? Thursdays. Enjoy.


My name is Mary Lennox. I was part of an archaeology team on a watery planet called Leaochis. The ruins were extensive. I was assigned to a set of caves in the southern part of the two land masses of Leaochis, where I found several hides of an unidentifiable animal. On the skins was recorded a story.

Translating and interpenetrating this story has been my lives work.

I have tried to keep with the dialect of the time, but for those of us from the Milky Way, several substitutions were necessary. For example, the plant Pa has a sweet root that is harvested yearly in the southern regions of Leaochis. For ease of understanding I have dubbed it sugarcane, so that understanding may abound. But the reader should know that is not what the Leaochian people would have eaten.

We have barely begun to scratch the surface of the planets here in the Andromeda Galaxy, and many things are alien to us. Understandably, this is why the dialogues were updated. I will make available scans of the original hides, as well as my first three translations so curious observers may see how the manuscript evolved.

Leaochis is a vast ocean planet, with two distinct land masses that are not overly large. The people here were native Leaochians, they ate the plants and hunted in the forests, and fished the beaches. For all practical purposes, they were savages.

Yet this story is important to the history of Leaochis. It is one of three hides we have found. Three hides: the only documentations of life on this planet. There is not much we can glean from discarded pottery, empty caves, and grave dust. This story tells the real tale of Leaochis and her people, the story that the remnants left behind cannot.

I remember the first birth I attended vividly. It was my sister Ignose. Her labor started at shade of the half moon, and she had shaken me awake, panting and breathless.

“My child comes,” She said. Three shade-spans later she was moaning and swaying with pains. “Don't go,” She said, but I rushed to get the Ogna. Her cries to the Creator resounded in my mind as my legs flashed over the smallpath to the village.

My frightened eyes must have told all, because Ogna May had arose and followed me without a word as I scrambled back to our leafgrass lean-to. I couldn't run now--even though I was breathless to get back to Ignose. The Ogna had been lifebringer for over fifty red moons. She walked with purpose and with a gnarled tree-root to support her and her basket, but she walked slow.

Once we arrived, she had to bend double to get inside. Seeing Ignose, she tisked. “You should have fetched me sooner. Her time is near.”

“It hurt, oh it hurts,” moaned Ignose. I had never seen her look like this, and I reached out to soothe her, worried.

She slapped my hands away. “Leave me alone! Oh, it hurts!”

“We need to get her into the water,” Ogna May said, as Ignose writhed. 

“I can't,” My sister moaned through gritted teeth before screaming. My heart began to thrum against my chest.

“Is she dying?” I asked, tears pricking my vision. Ignose was all I had.

The Ogna laughed. “No, child. She's bringing forth life. This is the way of most women.” She eyed Ignose testily for a second, before squaring her shoulders.

“You will walk. Solamae, help her.”

Ignose screamed again, sweat dripping from her face, and her belly undulated like a snake swaying in the rushes. Ogna May grabbed one arm, and I hauled at the other. Ignose rose.

“I hate the day I laid eyes upon the Sun,” She spat, but she walked, bowed over as the Onga backed out of our hut, Ignose leaning heavily upon my arm.

Ogna May talked as we walked. She talked to the moons, three were alight in the sky tonight. The blue sister, and her alabaster twin shone wanly through the boughs of the trees as we made our way to the sea. The full brightness of the evermoon shown as well, far to our backs and casting beams that highlighted Ignose's dripping face and the calmness of Ogna's weathered one. The only moon missing—the Red-- would come at shade, when the cold came down from the north and all the sisters retreated to the caves. Now, without its rose hue, everything was blue and white and dark. 

I listened to Ogna, half supporting Ignose, half watching the moons.

“For generations our women give birth in the sea. The pains come just as the red moon rises. It is our right and our task to bring life to Leaochis, to bring life from the womb to give to the Creator. He will sustain you as your red moon flows into the sea and life is born once again. He will...”

Ignose cursed, something I will not write of here. The Ogna missed a step, and came down hard on her tree-root, causing it to snap under the weight of both her and Ignose's quivering body. She stumbled to the side, and I found myself supporting the whole weight of my moon-sister as she clutched her belly and screamed. Water gushed from between her legs, drenching my calves. The Ogna fell in a heap beside the path.

Ignose panted, leaning heavily on me. Ogna May heaved herself up, tisking at the sight of her basket and pots. She had fallen on it.

“Hurry,” Ignose groweled, starting forward again. “He's coming.”

Ogna May grunted again, and I could tell she wasn't pleased. But she rose, took Ignose's arm, and we all inched onward.

I smelled the sea before I saw it. The sharp odor of dead fish intensified, mixed with salt and brine. Just before we rounded the corner, the breeze caught me with that vast emptiness, hanging just beyond my view, behind the treeline. The sea. It was near.

The trees thinned, and then we were there.

“I have to push,” Ignose said, but the Ogna just pulled her forward. Across the sand, soft like skin on our toes. To the lapping waves that ate at my ankles. She began to undress Ignose, the lights of the three moons making her dark skin shine blue and silver. We walked out, Ignose naked as the day she had been born here, on these shores, until I was chest deep and the waves lapped at the Ogna's waist.

Ignose reclined back, both of us supporting her, as she floated in the ocean, her breasts mountain peaks in the valley of waves, her belly a moon of it's own. She sighed.

Suddenly she arched her back, screaming. Red gushed between her legs, silver-black in the moonlight. Ignose clung to me.

“Solamae, Solamae, help me.”

I gripped her hand, trying to keep my panic down. This was not the way I had imagined a life-bringing. I'd seen many a maiden walk the path in the morning into the village, a small bundle in their arms, their faces alight with joy. This was entirely different.

'Shh, shhh,” The Ogna said. “It's almost over.”

Ignose screamed again. As she gasped for breath, Ogna May instructed me to stand behind my moon-sister, supporting her head and torso in the water, while she moved to peer between Ignose's legs, her hands cupping her bottom, her feet draped over the Ogna's sholders.

“Push,” She said, and Ignose pushed and cursed and cried.

In the end I was crying too, but a new sound soon stopped my tears. The mewing of a baby. I couldn't see—Ignose's hair was all in my face and the salt water kept bumping me up and down, but I knew, he was here. Ignose began sobbing in relief.

"It is a boy,” the Ogna said, and she placed the infant on my sister's naked chest.

I thought Ignose would grab him, but instead she gasped again. “It hurts, Ogna.”

The Ogna peered down, humming softly. “There is another,” She said, as my sister's cries intensified. “A good omen. The Creator has blessed you with twins.”

Chapter Two

In the morning, when the sun arose, Ignose walked proudly into the village, a baby on each arm. Her cheeks were pink and she was rosy with pride. I was exhausted. The villagers gathered around her, exclaiming over her prizes. A boy, for the sun. And a daughter for the moon. Rare to see my moon-sisters close to Ignose, but no one seemed to remember their places this morning.

I collapsed beside one of the mud and stick huts, watching Ignose. Ogna May waddled up beside me, chuckling again.

“One day it will be your turn, Solame,” She said, squatting down beside me.

I just looked at her. “I will never give birth,” I said, at last. But she only grinned.

“It is not so bad, once you get used to it,” She said. “You are only two hands old. Just wait until your red moon flows and the sun turns it's hot gaze towards you. The sun shines brightly on us, dear one.”

I just shook my head. Do that? No, count me out.

Ogna May leaned in close. “How many of your sisters have you seen go to the water? There might be pain as we bring life, Solame. But there is great pleasure between the sun and moon. That is why many of your sisters are even now heavy with child. Do not gainsay what you do not know.”

I returned to watching Ignose, but in my heart I purposed—I would not find myself screaming in the ocean at night, sun or no sun.

Ogna May clucked at me, as if she could read my thoughts. “Go home and sleep. I will care for Ignose. Eat, and rest. No one can support the moon alone.”

I don't remember walking home, but when I awoke I was on my woven grass mat. A bowl of clear river water and a cloth of fruit lay beside me. I rolled over, to hear Ignose arguing with Ogna.

“It is custom, daughter,” Ogna May said calmly. They must be standing right outside the vine-woven lean-to that both Ignose and I had carefully covered with mud to ward off the rain.

“So not only do I have to give my son up in two red moons, but now you ask me to give my daughter to another?” Hearing Ignose shout was normal, but the tone of her voice now near broke my heart. She sounded like a wounded wolf pup yapping at a mountain lion. 

“It is custom. Paqia miscarried. Her breasts ache to nurse a child. You have two. It does not change the blood, you know this. She will know of you, as she is your first moon-daughter.”

“But she is mine,” Ignose said.

“She belongs to Leaochis, and Leaochis belongs to us,” Ogna replied. I had finished my fruit at this point, and had started on some flat bread we had stored near our mats. The water I sipped slowly, and I trying to work the salt crystals from my hair. The smell of the sea filled our lean-to, and my clothes were pasted to my body, winkled in stiff, briny folds.

I drained the water. I would need to bathe. Soon.

Outside, Ignose began to wail. Her cry was high, a keening sound of mourning. I stripped myself to my flats, picked up my other woven dress, soft from the cloth-souring and meticulous mending, bundled it up and tucked my washing-stone inside.  Thus ready I and pushed back the flaps of skins that covered the opening to our lean-to, and blinked in the bright mid-day light. Before me, Ignose sat besid our fire-pit, holding her son. Ogna May loomed over her holding his twin.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Gaps Week 8

This week we tried adding the kids to the gaps diet! Both husband and I started at stage one with the kids. We quickly realized that reducing the kids diet that much made both of them miserable and all meal times were full of tears and sobbing. So we put the kids on the full gaps diet and Brian and I continued with stage one. It has worked out really well!! We do soup as a family once a day, with raw cheese in it for the kids as an incentive. The below picture shows the kids with plates of chicken and sugar free ketchup and bowls of soup.

Reuben loves soup. He has thrived on our new diet after the transistion that the one or two days of change brought. He has been abnormally hungry (the gaps diet is lower carb being grain free) so I've been feeding him extra raw yogurt and fruit and gaps friendly snacks. 

Becky hates everything about it and most of the time won't eat anything. We are working on it.

I made them these fun charts, and got them some gifts they were allowed to have after eating their soup. This week we did tape, markers, and play dough as incentive gifts. I know changing up our whole way of eating is crazy, but I have seen a reduction of gastrointestinal issues with both of my kids. I am not sure if I will keep them on Gaps with me--I don't want them to have any negative issues around food or to think of food as bad. But as they are growing up with a mother who has a severe chronic illness, it's got to leave some sort of impression on them. I do try to say "mommy does this because the food hurts her body. the food isn't bad" but I still worry a bit!

I am doing better this time, starting over. I know what to expect and that I can't have any dairy. I am hopeful that this time we are work through all the stages and finally get to the full gaps diet!!! Let's go, let's do this thing. I started on stage 1 and ended the week on stage 2. This coming week will bring stage 3 and avocado. 

I hope this will be the last diet I ever have to do.