Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rooted Together

What you are about to read is a clip that I've kept in my journal ever since my mother passed away, seven years ago. When I was packing for the "Write of Passage" journey I'd be taking with Cote, I tucked this piece of paper into my bag to keep with me. I knew the Redwoods were going to be one of the most powerful experiences I would share with my daughter. Since trees have a way of speaking directly to my soul, the words written below have brought me much comfort and peace over the years. I know my own mother lives on in everything I do; her spirit has been rooted within me. Thank you, Mom, for the lessons, the love, the memories. May my own daughters' lives be enriched by your legacy.

Epilogue from Motherless Daughters:
A Legacy of Loss
by Hope Edelman

"Nature often offers metaphors more elegant than any we can manufacture. Redwoods have evolved to turn disaster into opportunity. In these coastal forests, death produces life.
This is what I mean: In the redwood ecosystem, all seeds are contained in pods called burls, tough brown clumps that grow where the mother tree's trunk and root system meet. When the mother tree is logged, blown over, or destroyed by fire--when, in other words, she dies--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 root system, which remains intact underground even after her leaves die. Although the daughters exist independently of their mother above ground, they continue to draw sustenance from her underneath.

I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide."

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Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran