My home is in Florence Park, and in the hours of darkness on January 2nd 2013, my daughter was born at home. Wonderful things happen in our family home. Love and imagination build up riches of original thoughts and the depths of feeling for each other. Light streaming in through our windows, filtered by the reach of the trees in our garden brings us joy. We feel interest and awe, kindle curiosity and wonder, we invent, we discover. Through contact with our surroundings, we develop a relationship with the world that nurtures us as beings. Our children in particular seem to revisit places and activities and this strengthens their sense of place, belonging and identity; this is who I am, this is where I am, this is where I am from.
I have lived in Florence Park for some time, yet I only really began to feel as if I was of this place after the birth of my first child in 2010; when the flowering of neighbourhood friendships brought us unsolicited soup, support and generosity streamed from behind closed doors which had previously held anonymous occupants. Becoming a mother forced me to move more slowly through my days, and to discover the time and space for the things that are important in my life and one of these is community. In slowing down I found that my connections with my neighbours, and friends, and the place itself became deeper and more meaningful.
My home is my inspiration for so much of my creativity that became the natural choice for the birth of my daughter. It is my natural habitat, serving as both my muse and reward for my daily journeys and family stories. My home is changing; it is constantly in motion, the garden ever in a state of flux giving me an ever-present awareness of the passage of time. Our community has a natural rhythm, which we follow with the changing of the seasons, in the colours in the magical world of the park; experiencing the heartbeat of nature in the heart of the city, here on the part of the earth’s surface that we call home.
Push and pull, push and pull, the season of Christmas exerts its own rhythm upon us, and we follow where the days take us. Visits, inside, outside, warm clothes, changes of boots, ever watchful weather-eyes open to needs for layers. The rains had been particularly frequent visitors in December 2012 and had kept us in, fathoms deep within our four walls for what felt like weeks. My daughter was expected on New Year ’s Day, yet with no sign of her arrival being imminent and the clouds parting to reveal a watery winter sun, we had to be outside. As a family we headed for the hills and trees, and it seemed that the city felt the same as a body of people flowed out into the landscape, released, breathing in the new year with joy.
The following day, the balance had shifted and our world returned to normal. The activity inside these holiday days was replaced with a different rhythm, of return to work, return to waiting. The endless games, puzzles and play continued; my time consumed with the daily tasks of our home. Home is our centre, here in Florence Park. It is our permanent dwelling and it shields us from the elements of the natural world when they are too strong for us to experience and withstand alone. I am in love with my home, with the dances of creating, baking, sweeping, eating, resting, sleeping, playing and working here. Home is our place to come in from the cold and where our daughter was born; there was no need to bring her home, she came to us here, taking her first breaths earthside in the heart of her home.
What a dramatic show birth is; cylinders of sound, cooling and circling into a single swirling vortex of power. It is extraordinary. In the process I became a wind-blown scrap, a rag of paper, I ceased to resemble myself; I was a thousand colourful kites, riding the wind, wild movement and gravity working their parts in equal measure. Every moment held me for seconds and eternity, each new development was more compelling than the last. I felt connected to deeply to my place in the order of things too, in my home, held by the energies of women, my friends, who had given birth in their homes recently too; in my own street, around the corner, and two streets away. With their good wishes and some shared old towels creating the path, my daughter rode the tide homewards. We emerged together, a child and her mother, an immense night flower, beautiful and mysterious, at the limits of what the imagination can articulate; an edgy wonder made anew, here in the heart of our home.