I have just returned from the hospital. for the moment, it
is quiet. as my last order of business, I assessed a woman in
labour. with my fingers I examined her cervix. she
was 5 cm dilated. I struggled to feel the baby. oh.
there it is. tiny fingers. no, too short. tiny
toes. yep. there’s the heel. footling breech. a
bit farther though….that’s the head. yeah, I can feel the
sutures. definitely not a bum.
so, one of two possibilities. some type of crazy somersaulting
acrobatic compound presentation with the foot coming out just over the
head, or there are two fetuses. I guess there is a third. I
can’t tell my heads from my asses. the unfortunate part is that
neither deliveries are straightforward, and it is late, and we cannot
drive to find a caesarean section at this time of night. and i would prefer not to do one on my own.
I am mulling this over as I sit and watch the sun fall into the deep
red African sunset. whenever I see the sun come up in africa, or
go down, I think the same thing: it is easy to believe that life
began here. there is so just so much of it. the
spectrum of light that runs from red to violet, from long to short, is
proof. as the starting and finishing days rays pass through the
atmosphere tangentially, cutting across the dusty plains and the deep
jungle instead of directly down, the smaller bluer rays are picked out
by water vapour, or a piece of sand, or a tiny buzzing beetle.
the reds and the oranges bend around, careening through. each
morning and each night, a collision of these, and a phoenix. when I
run in the morning, I can look directly at the sun until it is well
above the thick horizon, thanks to the sand and the blinded buzzing
beetles. it is the most perfect circle.
there is so much life here. not just humans, of
course. insects, lizards, birds, bats, babboons, spiders
(as large as my fist, in my tukul, yes indeed), big cats, loping
giraffes, and with them a legion of viruses, parasites,
bacteria. it seems no mystery that most of the rest of the world
had its start nearby.
and, perhaps, so will two new twins. but perhaps they are too new.
in some ways it is easier to be a spider here than a new human trying
to make it out with your brother’s foot in your face.
back to work for me, for you, for us. good night.