I am a witch. I think, if I recall correctly, the first time I uttered those words was in the Summer back in 1997 when I was fifteen years old. I might have said it before then, but I did not really know what I was talking about or truly understand the implications of the phrase. I might have also just been saying it to get certain less-than-charming schoolmates to bugger off and leave me alone. I was not very fond of most of the weird fake-nice “Christian” kids at my high school. They came in two factions: Council Road Baptist Church Crusaders and Bethany First Church Nazarene Groupies. They did not really like me much either, as I was one of those moody, opinionated, Honour Roll, straight A, Trench Coat Mafia types (minus the trench coat — it was fucking #Oklahoma after all and I hated being hot).
I was bored that day and tired of listening to my parents bitch at one another about pointless shit. This is pretty much how I remember what most of my childhood was like. I decided that before they managed to drag me into it, like they always did, I would go for a bike ride. A quick spin around the immediate neighbourhood and then I headed straight for the lake to be close to the water. I would do this all of the time. I loved to ride my bike around the lake. I loved the wind, the birds, the sound of the water lapping the banks and rushing over the dam, and I loved the sense of freedom that I felt whenever I was close to the lake, to the water.
I remember a lot of moments from my childhood where I was near the water and how the water made me feel. I was drawn to it. Visiting the ocean was always extra special and internally, dare I say spiritually, liberating. I mean of course I would not have called it as such then, but looking back at it, that is exactly what it was: Spiritually Liberating. I longed for the water, no matter whether it was a vacation to my great-grandparents near Lake Tenkiller or a pool party in someone’s backyard.
When I got to Lake Overholser, I climbed down to my special spot, frequented by local junkies, taggers, and teens smoking pot. Camille (“Cammie”) was there. She was a homeless sixteen year old who slept near the lake under a bridge and had done so since two years earlier when she was kicked out of her house by her parents when she told them she was a lesbian. I had met her about a year earlier on one of my trips to the lake. I dug around in my backpack and handed her a Snickers, a grapefruit, a PB&J, and a bottle of water. I dug around a little more and pulled out a joint, a two packs of cigarettes, and my well loved copy of Bunnicula. Cammie’s eyes got wide and when she saw the book; it was her childhood favourite too. She ate while reading aloud from the pages her favourite passages.
“But looking back on the next day, I can tell you that happy endings are possible, even in situations as fraught with complications as this one was.” ~ James Howe, Bunnicula
Cammie was a generous soul; she shared the Snickers with me and then we shared the joint and a few cigarettes. I left her with a pack of her own and I trucked off to go be closer to the water. I had work to do.
I plopped down near the water’s edge, on a sandbar that was caused from the water being very low on account that it was a typical hot Summer with little to no rain in Oklahoma. I was practising my dowsing abilities by digging in the sand for snail shells. This was something that I did frequently when the lake was this dried up. I found a nice spot and I closed my eyes and with my arms out, fingertips almost touching the sand, I would move my arms in a half circle arc on both sides of me. I would stop when I sensed a shell under the sand. I would then open my eyes and use a stick to dig up the place I stopped at. About nine times out of ten I would find a shell.
Cammie used to say that it was not luck or skill or magic, but that the floor of the lake was riddled with shells. That day, she decided to try my method out. I watched her in anticipation, giddy from the pot. I struck gold eighteen times out of twenty-one and Cammie only got three out of seventeen. Cammie was a pretty girl, but not the type I was physically attracted to. She had a great smile and she was so smart. I hated seeing her out there, dirty, and alone.
I looked over at her tossing the shells she found into the water and I said, “I am a witch, you know.”
“I know. I can see it in your eyes.”
“I have a feeling that one day my magic is going to benefit you greatly”
“I know. I can feel it in my bones…. Come on, let’s have another smoke.”
A little over a year later, I would be attending the birth of Cammie’s undiagnosed #twins, in the basement of another friend’s house. Marking the beginning of my journey of becoming a #midwife. I would summon up all that was in me and around me to guide me.
I spoke with Twin B, who will be turning sixteen very soon, not that long ago. She told me that she is starting her own #midwifery apprenticeship at the beginning of the new year.
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