It was 8:20 a.m. and I called Jeff from the car, wailing,
“Today is already a truly bad day, you know why? Because I am such a sleep deprived moron that I took the money you gave me to pay the park fee on San Bruno and instead of moving it from the bottom of my foraging bag to the pocket of my foraging bag, I moved it to the pocket of my other bag that was sitting right next to it. The bag that I didn’t bring with me. So now I’m here at the park entrance and the ranger is here in his truck driving around and so now I have to turn around and drive back to San Francisco in all the rush hour traffic that I saw on my way here.”
My tirade then continued on to include my absolute despair and exhaustion with trying to night wean Fern, or rather, our failure to night wean Fern. I had spent the last night in the most uncomfortable positions with my boob in her mouth, and when I tried to take it out, tantrums the like of which I have never seen ensued. I was so fed up that I yelled “STOP” at my baby, because, you know, telling a toddler to STOP their emotional experience is totally effective and also the behavior of a truly stellar parent.
And so I yelled and sobbed into the phone, all the way back down the mountain, my frustration spiraling all the way out into everything about our lives that feels intractable and frustrating. When I saw that the rush hour traffic in Brisbane was backed up a mile from the freeway entrance, I abruptly got off the phone and careened my way through the lanes to get onto the side streets. I drove along a torn up industrial road, back towards the mountain, thinking maybe I could wait out the ranger, or at least wait out the traffic in a park somewhere.
I got lost pretty quickly, so when I saw a road sign for “Old Quarry Road” I took it because the words “old” and “quarry” sounded promising. I found myself at a paved trail head, and while I was sure I would encounter nothing but weeds and my stupid self, I blundered out of the car with the camera and set out.
I put out a silent greeting and prayer, telling of how grateful I would be if this walk could somehow salvage the morning. I felt thwarted and angry and was sure I would turn around in under five minutes. Thinking of my friend Shane and what he said to the devas last time he was looking for a special plant, I said, “Show yourself.”
And thus it began. First with the Artemisia,
and then one beautiful plant friend after another. Some I know, and some I have yet to identify…
I continued up the road until I came upon this
It seems that, after I surrendered to the release of my plan, the mountain found me. Ain’t that the way it always goes?
I began to ascend the mountain, and despite how tired I was or how my eyes and nose hurt from allergies, all else was quickly falling away. My heart began to expand, the fatigue being brushed off my shoulders by the wind and the cries of hawks above.
I thought of how it is time for us all to begin the night weaning process in earnest. I have been half sleep-training Fern and half placating just so we all can get some sleep. While things have been shifting…like the nights when I can actually pop her off the boob and she will roll over by herself and go back to sleep or settle for spooning me like a literal monkey on the back….we are not being consistent enough to know if weaning is truly possible right now. It’s also creating enough confusion for Fern that it exacerbates the problem. As my breath sunk down into the mountain with each step, so did the realization sink into me that It Is Time, and night weaning will be a positive step for all of us.
I found my way back down to the original paved trail, noting my shift in consciousness and attention, and simply how much better I felt. I paused along the way to gather some wood mint and mugwort,
And to take a few more pictures near a sweet community garden before going home.
I drove back to the city, traffic (and my mind) all clear. Averted plans don’t always have such a pleasant ending, but today at least I felt happy, lucky, grateful. And more than just a little in league with the faeries.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend!