Matter. Mater. Mother.

Already the sun is hot
out of season.
Our Mother’s breast
is going dry.
She is taking all green
into her heart
and will not turn back
until we call her
by her name.

(Marilou Awiakta,
Cherokee poet)

The Mothers Days of my childhood (with construction paper and crayons) were overshadowed by the Mothers Days of my young adulthood (in the shadow of my mother’s alcoholism), and the Mothers Days of my own motherhood (overshadowed by exhaustion), followed by the Mothers Days without a mother (because she died too young); so that by 50 years of age, with almost-grown children, I find myself leaning toward something altogether new…

Celebrating MATTER.

ORIGIN: from Latin from mater ‘mother.’

I want to celebrate the Earth, as Mother. I know this is cliche, but suddenly, for me, this expanded sense of Mother holds deep resonance, particularly after my most recent experience of mothering:

Yesterday, I appeared at the appointed time at my son’s college for student retrieval day (aka. the last day of the semester.) My husband and I, along with throngs of other parents, mostly fathers, hoisted belongings down flights of stairs, around corners, across parking lots and into cars.

Some of these belongings were packed neatly into bins and boxes while others were stuffed into trash bags (where I imagine they’ll stay until August); and yet others were simply abandoned in piles.

I was entirely unprepared for this day. Unprepared from just how much “stuff” there was. Unprepared for how much I’d see left behind–from bed linens to clothing, to furniture and appliances, to books and equipment. Trashed.

I was also unprepared for how much my son and his roommate seemed to neglect the  gift of their living space; and equally shocked that no one else who stopped into their dorm room seemed to notice how terribly trashed it was… despite the colonies of dirt and dust and debris… socks, wrappers, bottles, caps, pencils, books.

The whole afternoon left me soul sick. And I’m not putting this all on two 18 year old guys living on their “own” for the first time. I’m putting this on the lack of true love we hold for Mother in this culture. For how much we consume at any expense. For how much we waste. For how little we care about place. For how careless we are with our bodies and our belongings.

If we claim to celebrate Motherhood, we better start there.

Matter. Mater. Mother.