It’s impossible to live in the mountains for a long time and not, at some point, see a female form in the peaks and valleys. They don’t make really recall the delicate shape of a young girl but more the convex curve of a belly that has nurtured life a few billion times. It makes it easy to understand how cultures around the world have personified the earth as Mother. It also makes it easy — and difficult — to understand why we treat her the way we do.
I was thinking of that this afternoon as I escaped to find something new to draw.
Mother Earth’s Green Mountain State is not exciting or dramatic , but it is beautiful and inviting like an overstuffed lap covered with crushed velvet. It’s been a long week, and inviting was a decent substitute for dramatic.
I was hoping for a bit of uninterrupted mountain or field, but that’s not easy to find. As I drove north, however, I couldn’t help but notice that every square inch of land was owned – with a fence or at least a sign to let passersby that someone owns this piece of Mother Earth.
I finally found an overgrown field and started to draw. Kate Bush’s “Get out of My House” was blasting on my iPod, and together we meditated on Mama Earth’s curves rising up above the field. I began to commune more with Mama than Kate as I thought about all that it means to be a mother and to be, for a time, completely owned by another human being.
Not that long ago my youngest used the word mom as a summons and a name, naturally assuming that the person who fed him when he was hungry and tended him when he cried must belong to him just as his friends’ mothers belonged to them and just as humanity assumes Mother Earth belongs to it.
Neither my youngest nor my eldest need many tears dried anymore. However, like almost every mom, in my heart, I still have belong very much to them. They stand on their own feet more and more. They ask for less and even give back when I least expect it, but part of me will always belong to them.
I scrawled the leaves of the two trees that had not been bulldozed and scratched out the scraggly field trying to recover from ‘improvements’ and, I saw another mama still belonging to her children and, like any mom, still trying to give them her best.
When the song and the drawing ended, I started home, wondering if I’ve ever given her anything back.