On reflection we’ve always been a family who celebrates well, one that puts effort and thought into a day to be marked. We’ve had two such events this past week, and I ponder if self-isolation due to Covid19 has rendered things just that little more special? Is it a period when even more thought and creativity has surfaced? Maybe a time for vivid gratitude for what we have, for those we love, a time for a little more effort… a time for, shall we say, the possibility of magical celebrations?
We are now nearing almost two months of isolation and social distancing. I realise how fortunate I am to be ensconced in a mountain town with clean air and open vistas. And wonderfully, with all of my family in one place. For the first time in ten years we not only all live in one country, but for a spell, we’re all now in one town. It’s a gift I couldn’t have imagined, yet it’s not to say it’s always been easy. Like many of us, there’s the worry of the virus itself, the separation from other loved ones, the concern for our health workers and for the families and those who have suffered, for those who have passed away alone. I think of them often and when I first wrote of Covid19, I mentioned the struggle of finding equilibrium as we cope with our own mental health while being mindful of others’ well being.
Now as we speak of the ‘new normal’, I get the sense of a certain shift of back to the basics that feels like it might well remain. For us it’s meant homemade bread and baking, favourite family recipes prepared, hand-crafted cards and homespun gardening. For the first time in this home, we’re planning a vegetable garden and seedlings are now nestled with hope in tiny pots. We inspect them daily, watching for the miracle of sprouts; tomato, kale, zucchini, parsley, coriander and peppers – arugula was the first to make its welcome appearance!
Admittedly for me, this is very much a pleasant distraction as I lament the loss of travelling. This time last year, I was sojourning for a month in Malaysia. I had just met up with my ‘global tribe’ in Bangkok. Time in Slovenia and Croatia with family was still to come. I miss exploring and traveling with every fibre of my being, yet we’ve all had to find ways to compensate for those elements of our life that have been put on hold. Some days are easier than others and I’ve learned that we have to allow ourself the time to lament for what we’re missing, what we’ve lost during these unprecedented times.
I give gratitude for all my blessings and our recent celebrations certainly ring true to this. It was my husband’s birthday this past week and it’s likely been ten years since we were all together to enjoy the occasion. On the eve of his birthday we mandated a family stroll to one of our favourite viewpoints. We meandered through deep golden wildflowers, gazed out to the still-snow-draped Rocky mountains and popped champagne as a soulful moon made its appearance. The evening was simple, evocative, meaningful.
The next day choosing the theme of Mexico, just as we had chosen India the previous month, the drinks and food were specific to that place. With restaurants not yet open for dining in our town, we celebrated in style nonetheless. The evening began with margaritas, my ‘famous’ homemade salsa and guacamole. A separate surprise ‘bar’ on the lower level of our home was the next stop with Mexican beer, music, then the birthday boy’s, birthday quiz – the one who knows him best conjures up twenty questions about his life. Answer individually or form teams. A fiesta of Mexican dining followed, a cake made with love, the giving of hand-written cards. Of course it had all taken some effort and planning, but therein lies the beauty in it and the birthday guy couldn’t have been more pleased. And it afforded us the chance to get dressed up and break the daily routine!
Yet as poignant as celebrations have become during Covid19, I’m mindful of loved ones who can’t be with us. Mother’s Day was another reminder that just as I could not be with my mother, the two young women now in our family had to celebrate the day many hundreds of miles distant from their own mothers. I feel keenly, and have heard this echoed by others, that beyond the loneliness of this long separation from loved ones, we all ponder when we will finally unite normally in a way that we once took for granted.
Despite, or perhaps conscious of these separations, my family planned a Mother’s Day celebration that will forever be etched in my maternal heart. Early photos of me and my three sons decorated a table set with flowers and candles as we sat down to a lovely brunch. Unknowingly foreshadowing of what the day would bring, I had decided to read journal entries to each of my sons. I had discovered messages written in my diary to my children when they were just babies and now, all these years later, I offered them as readings, small gifts to my grown boys.
At precisely 3 pm, I was led downstairs to our lower level. To my complete surprise, a poster announcing a writer’s workshop greeted me at the door. I entered to the most perfect ambiance, set with attention to detail… a vase of flowers next to the same iconic typewriter that I lug to my workshops, candles flickering, essential oils perfuming the air, handmade raffia-bound journals awaiting our missives.
Six family members were already seated, all having agreed to participate in the gift of words, reminisces, even poetry. Yes we’re a family of writers and editors, yet still this bounty of coming together to give me such a unique and colourful Mother’s Day gift was incredibly moving.
And so we conjured words, we listened, we discovered voices of humour we hadn’t known. We strolled in silence for ten inspiring minutes to our neighbourhood viewpoint… with a mandate to create the perfect haiku. Over two treasured hours our readings elicited tears, laughter, admiration and, above all togetherness.
As I write today these treasured handmade journals with writings are mine to cherish. They are more than words. They’ll forever be memories of how we became a little more giving and creative during this extraordinary time… beautiful reminders of magical celebrations.
A Smattering of Writings…
Mothers Day means giving thanks to those who are there at the beginning.
The root of all life that brings us to light,
Whose love and nature push us even further.
And those who have come before. ABW
To grow a garden,
The seed is planted without much ado in some cases.
In others it comes with some fanfare and great expectations.
Will it be a plump red tomato, a wonky zucchini, or a string bean?
Time will tell.
You sit and watch the seedlings… germinate. LHW
Gratitude is like a gentle wave,
Feeling too treasured, too special, yet resplendent in the bask of motherhood love.
Hands clutch pens,
Tea in ancient Japanese cups,
Candles flicker, in unison.
A soft green typewriter perched, flowers decorate, proclaiming the ‘The Joy of Motherhood Workshop.’
Think back, always our family recalibrates… think forward, to the patter of tiny, precious feet. TAW
“She died giving birth'”
The words, a contrast
in the most selfless way,
the greatest loss.
A mother’s love
knows no bounds.
A mother’s love is unwavering.
A mother’s love empties its cup until it is dry.
A mother’s love will break that cup
and give it to you piece by piece. AS
You’re always there to put a smile on my face.
Thanks for being the constant brightness in my world. MCW
Mother’s Day marks the passing of winter to spring. The celebration unfolds as
mountains shed their wintery coats; as snow and ice find a path to the sea; as saplings
sprout towards the sun sheltered by maternal trees.
Why does Mother’s Day take place in spring?
Perhaps because there’s no better time to revel in natures rhythms; just as plants must be
nurtured to grow.
Mothers are water, soil and sunlight.
Mothers are course-setting winds.
Mothers are roots and rocks. And it is mothers who make the world spin. TP
Today is a universal celebration of motherhood – let’s look at it for wherever we gaze.
In our human society or in the browsing deer that amble through our neighbourhood, mother and fawns.
Or in the bears that forage in nearby woods introducing newborn cubs to the simple joys and tastes of spring.
We can find motherhood even in the trees. Newborn saplings rising under the arms of overarching mothers’ boughs. BW
HAIKUS… attempts at Haikus
Lonely leaning pines
Branches reaching to embrace
Arms too short to touch
Shedding wintery blanket
Little leaves unfurl
Glaciers rush to sea
A weight off mountain shoulders
Perennial sigh (of relief) TP
Scarred, charred and oozing sap
Whack, crash, chop – piled high in stacks
And still green buds grow
The green tendrils sprout
From elephant-skinned bark
Grow where you’re planted LHW
Breeze cools exposed skin
My fingers attempt to write
The sun will soon shine AS
Ethereal white peaks preside
Wind rustles, hues of spring’s green
I’ll awaken, flourish, bathe in warmth, live again
Winter and your lingering ski hill snow
You can go, vanish, exit, retreat
Now depart, say sayonara, farewell, ciao… now get lost TAW
Tall pines reaching skyward
Foursquare sentinels, strong, proud unflinching
Silently witnessing times passing BW