There is a place in Perry County called Ball Mill Resurgence my sister knows about because she knows about good things, and she took me there. You can walk right up to it, the space in the woods where the earth falls away from a limestone wall, and look up. When it rains, the stones that have broken off from the mantle get tumbled around in the basin made by the ground, and it grinds away their edges and sharp points, smooths them into spheres that give the place its name. Isn’t it interesting there’s a place in this world where that happens?
Isn’t it interesting there’s a place in me where that happens? So many questions like rocks, that feel like gaps in my understanding. Stop your striving, dear one. This giving over of my proposed answers while I don’t yet see better ones is faith. “We sometimes have to give up good things to make space to receive other good things,” my friend Katie tells me. I am still learning where and when and if this is true. I do know this: The blank space between two sections in an essay promises the ideas connect. Let us rest in these gaps while the questions like rocks tumble around, as wet clothes in a hot dryer until they’re ready for us to wear them.
So here, we rest. We work. We think about space. What it is. What it can be. How to cultivate it. We lift up women who create space for others by mothering, learning how nine women from throughout our region uniquely live out this calling. We give attention to the environments around us in our photo shoot. And we think about what it means to claim the space our bodies take up in the world. We hope these stories and images give you space to think, to feel, to create, and that they help you consider the possibilities of what you might do with the spaces you have been given, around and within you.
“Maybe I’m in the black, maybe I’m on my knees, maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes,” Chris Martin writes in “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” “The gaps are the thing,” Dillard writes in “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” You can’t fill a glass with water if it’s already full of bologna, I write, here. If our daydreams get broken by reality, roughed up and tumbled around, maybe it is to clear out space within us, to wake us up to the possibility that what is coming is better, to open our hearts to the gift of what already is. Can we love it if we leave the space empty? Try. Please, mind the gap. It’s the place where you’ll step over the threshold.