This morning I am up early, I need to be at the Women's Prison by 7:30 with my approved list of supplies for the students, ready to go through all the locked gates. The women are beginning to tell me more stories- about their families, what they lost, and what brought them to prison. There are women that test at the fourth grade level and there are college graduates. When I arrived for my weekly visit, Cathy arrived a few minutes late to class. She had just emerged from "Medline" and could hardly keep her head up. "Will you tell us a story?" she asked. I have been telling them tales of women who have lost everything- like Psyche, just after she was abandoned by Eros and fell hundreds of feet, alone, into an unknown country. To find her way back she had to perform four impossible tasks. I tell them, in the stories the tasks are impossible because that is just how it feels when we find ourselves in an untenable human predicament. There doesn't seem to be any way out. How do we find the willingness to go inward for answers that have nothing to do with logic? How do we know what we need to take with us? How can the struggle we find ourselves in, the loss, lead us closer to who we are, to what we are here to do?
We made weathergrams, or prayer flags, for them to hang from a tree once they are back on the outside. Their faces light up when they see what their hands have made. I hung mine from the dogwood tree we planted for mother just before she died.