There’s something so breathtakingly tender, and heartbreakingly sweet, in the newly born.
We’re astounded again and again by the miracle of life, the birthing of a brand new being, although its occurrence is older than eons, as common as pollen dust carried on butterfly wings, more numerous than grains of sand washed by countless waves, more prolific than the bursting of billions of stars.
Even so, each tiny finger, each soft sigh, each rose petal ear, seems a miracle that melts us.
How did she, do we, come to be? Is there ever an end to our becoming? Was there a beginning?
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,” writes Wordsworth in “Intimations of Immortality. “Not in utter nakedness, / But trailing clouds of glory do we come / From God, who is our home.”
And this is but an echo of Shakespeare’s thought, in saying that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on: and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
When the morning stars first sang together, did we sing with them, as scripture implies?
Is our “little life” the whole round of creation, beginning with the birth of the cosmos, as so beautifully imagined in the film The Tree of Life?
Do bursting stars and the splitting of a single human egg, each set into motion a whole panorama of evolving life?
Her birth forged bonds and relationships that will forever be a part of our becoming.
The birthing of a child is the rebirthing of man as a father, woman as mother, parents as papa and nana. Another child becomes brother or sister, siblings become aunties and uncles. A whole new set of relationships and shared histories evolves.
No one is quite the same as before. Nothing will ever be again as it was. The whole universe is slightly skewed to make room for this one child and infinite number of changing possibilities that occurs with her birth.
They say the stirring of a butterfly wing can set into motion a string of events that lead to the creation of a hurricane of the other side of the planet. Surely the birth of a child must have an ever more stirring effect on the remaking of the world.
We live in a universe of relationships in which everything is connected to and influenced by its surroundings. We are all tumbling together in the wash of time and space, breaking against and polishing each other. Shedding what we were in becoming what we will be.
What if all we are is a constantly becoming with no end in sight, with endless sights and sounds and relationships and experiences to sculpt and renew us? Birthing and rebirthing each other, over and over, ad infinitum, en potentia.
It’s not hard to imagine. After all, I remember not at all my time in my mother’s womb. Huge potions of my childhood self are largely forgotten, sloughed off as I became something new. The woman I was as a young lover, a new mother, I am no more.
We hold each other in our gaze and see faraway in each other’s eyes our own evolving selves.
A brand new thing has burst upon the world in the birthing of my granddaughter, and nothing will be the same again.
But I cannot help believe that in some deep and unfathomable way she is not new at all. She has lain in wait in the womb of the universe, tucked away in the folds of time and space with the singing stars, quietly biding her time as the world evolved around her leading to the very moment when she emerged into our midst and recreated us anew, her very presence here a rebirthing of us all.