Saturday, September 3, 2011

Women and Nature

Frequently, I think back to the Cave Man throwing arrows at buffalos, men hunting large animals and bringing home the beef. They spend their days together, not alone. Because a group is always better, especially when encountering a beast with snickering breath and hooves a moving toward you. The men charge with loud voices, looking up and around at the clear sky. They eyeball one another clearly and directly. One subtle twitch of the eye, a whispy move of the lips to the right, and off they go. Just like birds in formation, they rechannel their efforts to win the prize.

There seems to be an intrinsic and extrinsic difference with the Cave Woman. She stays near the home, gathers berries, and keeps the babies quiet. Waits for the Cave Man to bring home something, any think for her stomach.

So it is as if she is always waiting on him. If she is not waiting on him as his wife, she is waiting on him as a Father. Go to her. I can take care of myself. Teach her how to survive. I know it is a tough road out there...that job of teaching her the realities of life...they are lived through her father.

But it is the berries that capture my attention for now. Look at  the women. It is hot and the sun beats down upon their heads, leading them to develop makeshift sun hats. Unwittingly, this forces the sun away...and forces the blue sky away. The only place to look is across. And down. There is no alert. There is peace as one lady hums softly under her breath.

At times, the women look at one another. It is not the Cave Man look. It is more of a question than that of an answer, or an order. Or a decision. Instead, it is a look of acceptance. Ok what did I do wrong? Of course, what am I supposed to do next? One lady looks down at the berries and lets them fall into her basket, listlessly. Over and over again. As if she is an assembly line without a thought. The only thing she sees is the berries. One here and oh look! another one there! Mmmm. Excited, it comes from within. Her excitement quelches that place in her soul that longs for satisfaction. Inner satisfaction that she did her best, that she did well for the men coming home. That the baby was quiet and the home was safe.

How does this translate to today? Stay with me.

Today, the man still goes out to catch the biggest bull he can catch. He is constantly comparing himself to other men, in competition with them to have the biggest bat, the biggest catch. Together, they are all happy for one another's achievements. They encourage and help one another to make that final catch. The 'Men's Club' continues. The ones with the experience teach and mentor those without it. The young man at the bottom of the ladder....he can move up by being in the Club, by playing the game. He moves up on his own accord, but through and because of an Elder who takes him under wing. Advises him on how to sharpen that dagger, what to do with the carcass. Eventually, the Elders can stay home with the Women as the Youngers go out to shoot the bull. So for the Cave Man, there is heirarchy and climbing. He climbs by both standing on some one's back...and by reaching up for a hand. The best part is that there are so many Cave Men waiting to shoot the bull, that they are able to develop complex systems to optimize results so that they are exponential instead of additive.

To make matters worse, the Cave Man stands by the fire and does not age. Instead, he becomes more and more distinguished, more and more regarded by his fellow Man. As he ages, he mellows like a fine wine. It is totally unfair and it is also a great advantage. For with age comes status, respect, and exclusivity.

To his right, the Cave Woman is actually standing behind the men....yet the smoke ages and wrinkles her skin. It causes her eyes to become sallow and withered. As she ages, there are no living Women 'above' her that can pass on much worth, so to speak. She is not standing on any one else's back. No one is lifting a helping hand. Instead, she is self-reliant, independent, and has to learn to negotiate her way within her tribe.

So why does the beautiful Cave Woman look at herself in the mirror. This young, beautiful and aspiring Woman looks at herself in the mirror. I think it is a mistake. It does not matter what we look like. It matters who we are on the inside, but this incessant voice in her head is always telling her contrary. You are stupid. You are too fat. You need to read more. You need to have bigger this. And a smaller that. In the meantime, the Cave Men are still shooting the bull while the Cave Women are adding their own wrinkles to their own faces.

The Cave Man knows that he can go out with his Team, and Conquer to Win. And bring home a prize.

The Cave Woman can't look at herself in the mirror, because there aren't any good ones. So her happiness, her sense of self, is exemplified by the perception that others think of her family. She cares about what other people think. It is a dichotomy that this disallows her to accomplish simple, needed tasks. She lacks self-confidence, is unsure of what to do next. She searches for an answer to an unanswerable question, and forgets that she is also part of the Team of Cave Women.

Cave Women share in menstruation, hormone changes, and having babies. They share in watching their body change after having a baby. Whereas these were scars of babyhood, they are now turned into something else that they are not supposed to be. They are her war wounds, her self-giving, her pride. She knows they don't 'count' as much as shooting the bull. But inwardly, she knows what she has been through. She knows she is strong. She can change her world by talking. Negotiating. Raising the bar and then moving with more aggressive body language. Talking again. Just open your mouth.

Believe in yourself. Forget about what others think. Stop living for all of 'them'. Live the moment for what it is, and team up with others.

Maybe more Cave Men need to stop shooting the bull and some of them need to help the Cave Women to strive. To strive to achieve, to maximize the benefit of each Cave have her be just as important to the Group as the men. Maybe this will ultimately happen if shooting the bull is redefined. So that instead of shooting the bull with the Cave Men, every so often there would be a Cave Man who helps the women. Or the women should hav?e banded together to help one another by now.

Who is holding up your ladder? On whose shoulder are you standing? Who is holding out their hand to you and for your benefit? May we know all the people who are ladders in our life. May we forget about looking in the mirror. Instead, we can concentrate on lifting on another up, for the success of the whole group.

And maybe there is a Plan B to shooting the bull. Especially if there is no bull to be found. Moving on, the Cave Man seeks foul and flander, fish and fruit; forgetting about shooting the bull. Not having that as a priority, because now he is vegetarian. So the Cave Man looks laterally, redefining the way he sees the Cave Woman. Maybe she can be more of a Helper than he thought. Maybe he does not have to shoot the bull all the time, but just some of the time. She needs him. Without him, she loses her status and alone, she walks forth in a spotlight. Can she survive?

She looks to her sisters, her Cave Women group. But when her Cave Man stops shooting the bull and concentrates on her instead, there is new architecture being made. New architecture. If she is alone, she will move up with the help of other Mothers. Wiser mothers who know how to help, how to say the right words at the right time. For there is nothing like women helping women. Here's my hand. Take it.

Now let's go start a new life tomorrow. When we wake up, it will be a new day with endless possibilities.

But for the women, they have been busy tending to babies, berries, and 


  1. Learning to work as a Team. Stop thinking about what others think. Live true to yourself. You must have a network of supporters who know you. You must keep them close to your heart.

  2. In My Shoes: A Day In The Life Of Christian Loper, ME!

    Please read this blog about my best friends son...

    Your blog was great and I think you could be very helpful to them. Thank you for sharing!


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