Following tracks back to the beginning

Squirrel tracks, Sourlands

My son was conceived on a snowy day just like today. How do I know? one might ask. I know. I just do. Without counting days of my cycle, without other ways that any woman might know her body.

My parents know where I was conceived - a campground. They even pointed out the very campsite to me as a child. I can't recall which campground, I'm sure they still remember. It was probably High Point State Park, if I had to guess.

I could picture their tent set up. What else, I didn't know. At least at the time - I was a kid. "Conceived" was a big word, one with gravity, especially within a practicing Roman Catholic family. It is where I came to be.

I was charmed by their tone of voice. Who told the story, my father, my mother? Probably my father. Mind you, the story was not a long one: "This is where you were conceived." A smile. That's it. Regardless, the story held the weight of an ancient script carved in stone.

And so my son's story begins in a little cottage in the Sourlands and continues later that morning as my husband, several friends, and I followed bloody coyote tracks across the snowy landscape. Through swamps and over boulders, my womb began to swell. I remember sweating profusely, adrenalin running, as we hustled through the forest. One friend fell through the ice of Cattail Brook and landed in water up to her waist. She was a hell of a sport.

Back at our house, we warmed by the wood stove and shared a potluck meal. By then, Beren was still just one cell and would be until the following evening when he would become two...

Growing up Roman Catholic, I had a lot of what some might call superstitions. Others might call them visions, dreams, senses, colors, imaginings, faith. I believe that the way things begin is the way they end. While beginnings and endings are loose and should be freely interpreted, I believe that my son began his life on a spirited and inquisitive day.