On the video my daughter is born. I rewind. She is born. I rewind. In that sterile hospital room attended to by women in sterile gowns wielding sterile equipment, my daughter is born.
They push and prod her squalling form.
Her skull is elongated into a cone.
They suck mucus from her nostrils with a bulb.
They throw her arms up, flap those feeble arms.
Rake a finger roughly along her soles.
Her tongue is darling, trembling, modulating sound for the first time.
What of our ancestors who gave birth in caves, forest floors, roughshod cabins?
The modern mind quails.
The bloodied father, pale, perhaps fainted in the opening of a new world.
The mother’s scream startling the wind folk off their branches.
The baby is born and oh is it fucking visceral.
Its wail fills the exhausted silence… or it responds to silence with silence. Either way, it is pressed to the bosom, slick and cooling, the mother’s warmth enfolding it. The umbilical is limp gelatin shivering, still protruding from the point of departure.
Do they know what to do with it?
A gasp as the placenta sluices out with tentative tugs?
Is it separated from the child by the gnashing of molars?
A sharp flint knife?
Man is not a child of instinct, but it lives in him so that he may know what to do when the time comes. There in the sterile hospital room, a miracle has occurred. There on the vistas of the far fog-shroud past, miracles have occurred.
The question is, which is the more profound?