And then this morning, on the seventh day of crying, a calm came over me like the one I remember. I’d been laboring all night and into the next afternoon, the white room filled with doctor, midwife, photographer, friends. Someone suggested they all leave us alone. I lay with my head in my husband’s lap, and in that quiet, contractions ceased, pain stopped. A stillness came over the enclosed world like the cool emptiness coiled in a basket of sweetgrass. Like the air inside a bell. I couldn’t stand it. I thought I should get going again, get back to my work. Many times since, I’ve wished I’d lain there longer: a kind of Eden, a bestowed peace. But today, when the respite came, I didn’t move. I lay limp as a lizard on a lizard-colored rock, spent. I didn’t question it, this hush. I felt my breath enter and leave. The small wind of it in the mesh sacs of my lungs — like that too brief gap in labor that I couldn’t give myself to then, hellbent, ignorant as I was.