Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunday Observance

The nuns at the orphanage were always reaching for their rosary beads over how Starr Ann and I behaved. We were...difficult.

Religion just never took with us. We wanted to attain that feeling of holiness in Church that everybody seemed to get, but it simply wasn't there. Mass depressed us, we manufactured elaborate sins to tell in the confessional and, being at that age where farts and poop were funny, the word rectory sent us into hysterics. Okay, it still does.

But now that we're grown women, we understand the need for some way to experience spirituality. Starr Ann always said there was no shot we'd ever get that through righteousness or piety or by following any group's doctrines.

One night we camped out in the woods with a bottle of ouzo, a bag of green leafy stuff, a deluxe box of Hostess Twinkies, and the biggest bag of Nacho Doritos you ever saw in your life. That green leafy sure makes your taste buddies vacillate between wanting sweet and wanting salty, and we were totally prepared.

Here's what we came up with that night, religion-wise. Speaking strictly for the two of us, there are three states of grace: Wonderment over Nature. True empathy for another being (non-humans most definitely included). Happy sex (I already blogged about this one).

This Sunday Starr Ann and I have decided to pursue grace through wonderment. And we are focusing on the impossibly beautiful feat that Nature performs every time a foal is born.

If you ever need to cry from a place other than pain, sadness or rage, try witnessing the birth of a horse.

If you've ever seen a photo of a horse clearing a jump, you've seen the position nearly every equine assumes to enter this life - one foreleg extended farther than the other, head pushed forward and down to streamline and loosen the shoulders.

And then there's the face. Through the cloudy, slippery sack, the baby's unbreathing nostrils, relaxed mouth and closed eyes bear a trace of otherworldly expression. Maybe she's still saying her goodbyes to the ones she's leaving behind to travel here.

Then, when the mother gives that last push and the shoulders emerge slowly followed by the narrower hips just rushing out, everybody gets busy - breaking the sack open, pulling the baby clear, dodging her flailing front legs. Yeah, they usually come out alert and kicking.

Within the first hour, she's up tottering around, seeking anything to suck - the stall wall, your elbow, your shirttail, anything except what you keep trying to aim her at, the jackpot between the mare's hind legs. You're usually worn out from the drama and the effort, but you can't drag yourself away from that hundred pounds or so of life that fears nothing and expects everything to be interesting and wonderful. So you hang out for another hour, wearing a dumb grin and watching her bond with her mom.

For this Sunday's brush with grace, Starr Ann and I are going to think about foaling.

Here's wishing you your very own innocent way to sanctify the day.