I am sitting on the sand on Dunn’s beach. I walked a long way to this spot, stepped over gravel, veered around half-buried deer ribs under a cloud of mad flies, slippery boulders, wet sand and dry sand. I’m close to the fallen white tree, which looks like the femur of a dinosaur and I find it comforting. It supports my back as I sit facing the water. It’s early evening. The summer sun has left colored ink swimming across the sky- pink and orange. There is a bath of warm wind brushing my bare arms and face. I am dressed in light colors, pink and white, maybe yellow. (I normally dress in black, brown and grey). I just arrived but feel like I’ve been here for hours, maybe even a lifetime. My legs are crossed, making a place to hold this box. There is no one around. My tanned sandy hands cup the wooden box. It looks like a friendly box but I am feeling unstable. It is made of unfinished bird’s eye maple, a pleasant ivory/ yellow color. It smells like the woods. I like the box and would be content to just sit here feeling it and watching the gulls. However, it has been sent for a reason and I somehow know it is just for me. I suddenly feel very lonely because I have to open this box on my own. In my imagination I hope it will be something lovely, something delightful and new, something inspiring and surprising. Yet, the lightening in my veins tells me it will be hard truth. I slowly open the box, lifting its door-like top. I feel sick to my stomach and am afraid of what’s inside. I lift the lid all the way and there is a small plastic baggie. In it there appears to be a piece of meat, but it is not. It is my uterus. I feel calmer. The anticipation was worse than the discovery. I open the little bag and look in at my uterus. It looks healthy actually. It looks deep red and glistening, still alive. I sense it has been sent from the ones I love who have passed, urging me to enjoy my talents. They are reminding me of who I am. I am listening to the rhythm of the waves, and I hear the message of my uterus:

“Create Christine, your creativity is still alive, so make room for it…get away from the rat race and be with yourself…come to the quiet more often…this is where you know yourself as whole…when you create you are perfect as you are…you are alive and will not feel well until you release, give birth, allow your creative ideas to incubate and see the light of day. Do not hide your treasures in a box, they are for you to enjoy, and when you’re ready….your creations are yours to share. This sharing will make your heart feel full and bring peace to your relationship with living. Have faith that these gifts will take care of you in more ways than you can imagine.”

After I hear these words, and after they have entered every molecule of my body, I stand up, walk down to the water and release my uterus out to the dark water. A gull claims it before it sinks and flies off to some place I cannot see. I am pleased.


When I first read the assignment I started to cry. I felt a wave of relief at being asked to imagine myself sitting alone. Two tears fell down my left cheek almost one on top of the other. Then I knew immediately that the box would have something to do with my mother who died of cancer when she was 26 and I was 4. I also feel quite lost and in pieces (humpty dumpty is an image of myself that has come back to me). I don’t recognize myself lately as I zealously invite one academic project after another into my life. A small voice is begging me to tend to my own creativity before trying to help others.

I began to cry again right before the sentence where I begin to open the box. I felt a strong resistance to opening the box. I wanted to bury it instead of opening it. My skull burned with anxiety.

After I opened the box I found it difficult to stay in the moment. The memory of the third surgery still affects me. Four years ago some nurse after surgery would have walked down a long hall and put my uterus into some sort of an incinerator I suppose. I woke up in the operating room with excruciating fire-pain where my uterus was and I yelled out of pain “my uterus, my uterus is burning!!!” I was put back to sleep for two days.

Later I would think about the end of my uterus. It seems so incongruent to fire it in with amputated legs. My uterus has meaning. I joked with the surgeon, who said they might take it just to be on the safe side, that I would slip him a $50.00 bill if he removed it because it had caused me so much physical pain over the years.

A uterus seems like a sacred manifestation of femininity, nourishment, safety, potential, connection to love, the incubator of life itself. It should be in a box in my possession, not destroyed. These are perceptions of my uterus as symbolic and I do not feel less feminine for having lost it. But I have lost it. I treated myself to a new guitar when I found out I was going to lose my uterus. That may seem silly. My feeling was that if I was not going to create a child, I would create more songs, which are like children in many ways.

The contents of this box, my healthy and alive uterus, my incubator of creation is at the center of the biggest question in my life. What should I do with the precious time I have? What will I create? Will I use my talents? My resistance to opening the box is the parallel to my resistance to singing my songs and committing to my art. My limited energy is focused on how to create an environment that is private (a room of my own!), and a bank account that can sustain a very simple life.

I would like to add that this visualization provided me with a ritual, even though imagined, to acknowledge the loss of my uterus. I am breathing deeply and easily. I am not going to finish the readings now. Instead, I am going to sketch.

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