Anne Horrigan Geary: A tribute to mothers, and to Mother Earth


DALTON >> Two important celebrations occur within a few weeks of each other every spring: Earth Day and Mother's Day. Some people belittle these manufactured holidays; but I think they are worth exploring if not enjoying.

Mothers are at the core of our existence. They are the life force which enabled us to be: to see, to walk, to enjoy the world. I am eternally grateful for that gift. I cherish every morning when I wake up on the right side of the grass, with new experiences and adventures awaiting me.

But mothering goes far beyond biology. Mothers and mother-figures are the nurturers and consolers of our life. They feed our bodies and our dreams. They teach us how to cross the street and how to chart a future. They show us how to enjoy life and how to endure sorrow. They support us, defend us, and love us unconditionally.

In this fast-paced world, we often need to stop and be reminded of what is really important. Acknowledging where we came from and who helped us get to where we are is certainly one of those important events. It doesn't have to be on the second Sunday of May; but it should happen.

There are store-bought ways to express your love and gratitude, but look, too, for the simple and personal ways. Take a walk or a boat ride together; have a picnic in an old, familiar spot; make a photo album or collage of some favorite times together. There are hundreds of personal ways to reinforce the bond that was so strong in childhood.

If your Mom is no longer in a place where you can visit, memorialize her in a different way. Plant a tree, donate to a food pantry, or sing her favorite song.

Next, think about this wonderful planet we all inhabit, and consider all the ways the natural world has nurtured and formed us. Those of us lucky enough to have spent our formative years among the natural beauty of the Berkshire hills can certainly remember how our surroundings delighted and enriched us. We had lakes to swim in, ponds to skate on, and parks to play in with our friends.

I learned about birds and other wildlife at the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary in Lenox. I sat on the lawn at Tanglewood and heard music I had never heard before under a canopy of stars. I rode the Sheila boat around Pontoosuc Lake, unaware that billionaire Andrew Carnegie used it to take his wealthy friends around Stockbridge Bowl. For me, it was just the perfect end to a picnic day, and a chance to spend time with Pop.

The Pittsfield State Forest is another spot to enjoy the wonders of Mother Earth. See the wild azaleas in the spring, pick blueberries in the summer, and drive up to the pond for a picnic or just sit and stare at the spectacular panoramic view of mountains and valleys to the west.

And if you like views, there is always the ride into the Mount Greylock State Reservation for all kinds of natural encounters from the visitor center all the way up to the memorial tower.

I learned to love flowers and gardening from my mother and her fertile plot in the backyard; but we always traveled often to what was then the Berkshire Garden Center (now the Berkshire Botanical Garden) to wander around and be inspired by plantings of numerous varieties of flowers and shrubs showcased across the acreage.

Maybe you could take Mom to one of these wonderful venues for Mother's Day to celebrate your love of her and her ally, Mother Earth.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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