On the last of the lambs

Having gloried in the decision to wear a sundress and wedge heels to a child friend’s Saturday birthday party, I yet launched myself upstairs (yay wedge heels!) and ripped myself out of them and back into work pants as Tullia went into labor this afternoon.  Just my girl and me at home, and mile-wide Tullia down in the shrubbery stomping and spinning and showing her gums.  Her firstborn showed front feet first, perfectly, and we withdrew to the upper slope, N. still bright in Mexican party dress, me answering questions.

The little one came in a hurry, a tiny black smudge in the buffaloberry bushes — quick breaths and perked ears being summarily licked dry.  She has white stars the size of a fist, one under each ear.  After she was afoot but before she could nurse the second labor came, Dusan and our boy arriving home and joining us, whole family stretched out on a hot sunny slope in May, listening to different birds, watching a life.  As with our very first girl, this second lamb had one front leg folded well back, and she got stuck after one leg and a head.  Dusan caught and briefly held Tullia for me.  There isn’t a great deal of room to maneuver in there and I didn’t really wait to finesse but hooked the leg, then down and out, swiped her nostrils and then all of us were up and away, fleeing up by the house like black birds to let them be together and bond as three.  After seeing both onto their feet at her side I scrubbed my arms, precipitated back into the sundress and scooped N. off to her birthday party.  Seven minutes later we’re seated in front of rainbow layer cake and watching a gyroscope of little girls moving through the sun of a back yard.

Eleven o’clock at night and I chase the geese in, check the littlest chicks and take a flashlight out into the field, bringing each mother and child into brief existence out of the dark.  All are resting except Tullia, wandering the slope under the moonlight whirr of the snipe with her dark shadows — Sindri, Old Norse, “sparkling” and Njola, “night”.

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About Lorca Smetana

White doves. Retreats. Insects. Languages. Making.
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