Mother’s Day is certainly a Hallmark inspired event, which I used to pooh-pooh for being all about profit-making. But becoming a grandmother has changed my perspective. Now, I am thankful for this contrived holiday because it forces me to take time out to celebrate past, present, and future generations, and most important, to remember my maternal lineage.
Another woman’s daughter, who recently lost her mother, passed along this excerpt, which so aptly draws from Mother Nature’s coffers to provide a template for our timeless connections to our maternal roots.
Nature often offers metaphors more elegant than any we can manufacture. In the redwood ecosystem, all seeds are contained in pods called burls, tough brown clumps that grow where the mother trees’ trunk and root system meet. When the mother tree is logged, blown over, or destroyed by fire the trauma stimulates the burls’ growth hormones. The seeds release and trees sprout around her, creating the circle of daughters. The daughter trees grow by absorbing the sunlight their mother cedes to them when she dies. And they get the moisture and nutrients they need from their mother’s system, which remains intact even after her leaves die. Although the daughters exist independently of their mother above ground, they continue to draw sustenance from her underneath.
–Excerpt from Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss, Hope Edelman
This passage struck a chord that resonates to my core as I launch my newest book, Visionaries Have Wrinkles: Conversations with Wise Women Who Are Reshaping the Future, which is dedicated to my mother, my daughter, and my granddaughter.
My mother’s unfulfilled, prematurely shortened quest for her Womanself inspired my lifelong journey to fulfill this quest, and to this day, it still influences my mission to seed and tend to generations of daughters into the future.
The 13 women convening within the pages of this new book form a sacred circle with deep roots in time and timelessness, each woman forming burls of new seeds where their trunks and root systems meet. Together we unearth ancient future wisdom to nurture our new seedlings, creating an ever widening circle of daughters. My wish is that generations of women everywhere will continue to draw sustenance from our roots.
Yesterday’s mothers are the roots of today’s mothers, and in turn our granddaughters are the new seeds we tend so that they too will sprout and create ever stronger roots for the future.
To all our mothers, daughters, and sisters, may this day be filled with remembrance and celebration.
Photograph by Esther Seijmonsbergen.