Thursday, August 30, 2012

I had a baby!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Hello blog! I'm happy to announce that Babeski is a Boyski! Last month I labored and delivered our darling son, Japhy River.

His name comes from one of the main characters in the book, The Dharma Bums written by the beatific writer Jack Kerouac, and recalls a journey my husband and I had climbing Desolation Peak in the Northern Cascades a few years ago. At the peak of Desolation is a fire lookout where writer Jack Kerouac stayed during the summer of 1956.

Japhy came to us full term and nine days before his estimated due date. A tiny baby and with all parts intact he was born at home in a pool of warm water. From the time my water broke (in a nearby restaurant) to the time I held him in my arms he took only seven and a half hours to arrive. It stands as one of the craziest and most blessed nights of my life. Darling Japhy.

He's a dream.

"And suddenly I saw the Northwest was a great deal more than the little vision I had of it of Japhy in my mind. It was miles and miles of unbelievable mountains grooking on all horizons in the wild broken clouds, Mount Olympus and Mount Baker, a giant orange sash in the gloom over the Pacific-ward skies that led I knew toward the Hokkaido Siberian desolations of the world. I huddled against the bridgehouse hearing the Mark Twain talk of the skipper and the wheelman inside. In the deepened dusk fog ahead the big red neons saying: PORT OF SEATTLE. And suddenly everything Japhy had ever told me about Seattle began to seep into me like cold rain, I could feel it and see it now, and not just think it. It was exactly like he'd said: wet, immense, timbered, mountainous, cold, exhilarating, challenging. The ferry nosed in at the pier on Alaskan Way and immediately I saw the totem poles in old stores and the ancient 1880-style switch goat with sleepy firemen chug chugging up and down the waterfront spur like a scene from my old dreams, the old Casey Jones locomotive of American, the only one I ever saw that old outside of Western movies, but actually working and hauling boxcars in the smoky gloom of the magic city."Now I was beginning to see the Cascades on the northeast horizon, unbelievable jags and twisted rock and snow-covered immensities, enough to make you gulp. The road ran right through the dreamy fertile valleys of the Stilaquamish [Stillaguamish] and the Skagit, rich butterfat valleys with farms and cows browsing under that tremendous background of snow-pure heaps. The further north I hitched the bigger the mountains got till I finally began to feel afraid. I got a ride from a fellow who looked like a bespectacled careful lawyer in a conservative car, but turned out that he was the famous Bat Lindstrom the hardtop racing champion and his conservative automobile had in it a souped-up motor that could make it go a hundred and seventy miles an hour ...
"The fellows who picked me up were loggers, uranium prospectors, farmers, they drove me through the final big town of Skagit Valley, Sedro Woolley, a farming market town, and then out as the road got narrower and more curved among cliffs and the Skagit River, which we'd crossed on 99 as a dreaming belly river with meadows on both sides, was now a pure torrent of melted snow pouring narrow and fast between muddy snag shores. Cliffs began to appear on both sides. The snow-covered mountains themselves had disappeared, receded from my view, I couldn't see them any more but now I was beginning to feel them more" (The Dharma Bums, 222-223).


Cassandra said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. He's adorable!!! Welcome, baby Japhy!! And congratulations, Mom!

Amy Baranski said...

Thanks Cassandra! Sorry it took me this long to respond! :-)

Rosalie Riegle said...

Lovely baby boy, lovely birth, lovely name. Hope I can see you when I'm in Seattle off and on from May 9-17. Am also going to be in Victoria so may see your Dad there.