That’s what my mom told me.  You’d better believe it’s the hard core truth.  You want to talk about a heroic journey and a life commitment reenacted every dang day in the real world, becoming a mother is where you start.

A woman is chosen to go on a journey of trials and transformation.  At the end of her journey she returns to the world bearing a new life.  She is changed irrevocably into a new form and possessed of a new outlook.

And this journey is not safe, it is like every other liminal experience where real risk exists.  You can’t get to the root of life without eating a little dirt.  Even if you live, you still die to the old life and exist as the guardian of the new life.

Not every woman who goes through this gets it.  But you get the adventure you’re ready for, and through the wheel of suffering all shall know what you are made of.  It’s a sacred thing that deserves respect.

Just because it happens every day, just because it’s so commonplace that people seldom pay attention to the magnificence of it, it’s no reason to forget.  This is a heroic act every shred as important and meaningful and dangerous as slaying dragons and saving kingdoms.

Not every woman who goes on this journey makes it back.

The labyrinth is an equal opportunity graveyard for the brave and crazy who dare to do something with their lives that means something.

Today I learned from a dear friend, Yoshie Kimura, that a mutual good friend of ours passed away while giving birth.  Yoshie Izumi and her daughter didn’t make it.  This happened last February.  My friend only just found out and is feeding me details as she learns them.

028_yoshie01.jpgI’m stunned to hear of it.  Yoshie and Yoshie are friends from a deeply personal and meaningful time in my life.  My folks always called them “the Mothra twins” (even though they aren’t related), and said that they brought out of me my interest in east Asian culture beyond the popularized versions you find here in the states.  I’ve lost a friend to the ravages of time and space, and it hurts.

My thoughts go back to sitting on the couch with the Yoshies watching The Terminator (they both liked Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Yoshie Izumi, the Taurus, needing extra blankets because it was winter, getting close to Christmas time.  Then I think about the time I tried to make a Japanese dinner for the Yoshies, and failing horribly.  Yoshie Izumi was so considerate at my failure, she managed to make some of my mistakes edible.

029_yoshie03.jpgShe came back to the states to visit Lewis and Clark College.  The Yoshies and I had met there during our studies.  Her overseas study was over, and I was in summer school trying to prepare for my trip to Japan.  We had a blast hanging out, I’ll remember it if I have anything to say about it.

I got to see the Yoshies in Japan.  We met at some dumb eatery place off the street and had parfaits or coffee or some such dumb thing.  Yoshie Izumi was rushed, and late, but she made it.  I felt honored and happy just to be with my friends.  I don’t even remember what we talked about.  It was enough that we made the connection and renewed contact.  Yoshie Izumi was working hard to get her adult life on track.  I’m just glad she remembered me!

She remembered me.  Her words remain with me to this day.  “You’re a monster, Paul.  That’s okay, I like monsters.”

So I pop open a draft cider, turn up The Meeting Place’s Find Yourself Along The Way, and chop onions.  Dinner’s got to be made, and there are a lot of onions that need chopping.

Then I dance.