Saturday, February 16, 2013

Excuse me, can we have our village back?

Last night, my pregnant daughter, my son and our dog headed to the beach for some relief from the heat, fish & chips for dinner, a walk along the shore - and to hang out at the meet up of the local fire twirling, spinning and drumming circle who regularly come together at The Frankston Foreshore.

We sat, talked and laughed as fire was spun on sticks and poi. Independent drummers joined together to create the rhythm and women and children dance naturally to the beat. Dogs and toddlers ran about, the casual groups of families and friends forming a safe circle of protection around them.

My daughter, with only 8 weeks before her baby arrives, sat cross-legged beside me on the grass, her unborn daughter wedged more firmly down  into her pelvis by her natural sitting position and adding her own kicks to the atmosphere before quietly settling. We talked about what she could could sense from the womb and how the beat of the drums would clearly be heard.

It was around this point I looked around me with different eyes. Looking past the alternative-lifestyle of these modern hippies (most who have mainstream lives and jobs), beyond the dreadlocks and flowing skirts and into the human core of what was in front of me.

The firelight may have come from fuel lit by modern lighters but it hinted at the large, communal fire we would once have gathered around at dusk. The freshly killed game and gathered fruits and berries replaced by fish and chips, pizza and food brought from home and behind the circle were cars, not huts, but the essence was there.

Here was a village at the end of the day. The drum beat that helped my unborn granddaughter drift off to sleep would have the same affect on babies, in the arms of mothers/sisters/aunts/grandmothers or tied against their bodies in slings, rocked to sleep as the women danced or swayed to the beat and talked about their day. Older children burned off the last of the day's energy running in and out of the circle, unattracted to the darkness behind it but kept safe within the light. they would go to sleep alongside their parents, safely knowing when all the fun was over, they were missing nothing. Young women would dance and show off their bodies to young men, who would sweep them off into the darkness, not far from parents with similar plans, safe in the knowledge their children were safe with family. And the resulting pregnancies would lead to unborn babies learning the beat of the drums and being rocked to sleep by its rhythm, just as they would after they were born.

Like  Jean Liedloff, author of the timeless book, The Continuum Concept. I was saddened that our modern society has moved so far from the fundamental basis of community that we have lost the natural ways of parenting which some of us had to re-learn despite disapproval by many.

But I really do wish we could have our village back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in a small village I now know how difficult it was for my mother to raise a family without the benefit of electricity and running water. Mum was always grateful for these. Can you imagine not being able to have hot and cold water on tap? Lighting meant a kerosene lamp. Mum must have had to work hard when we were infants. We lived in a small village in those days.