Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dear Mother, All Flowers Remind Me Of You

A tribute to The Conscious Shopper's mother

At my church, we have a Mother's Day song that goes like this:

I often go walking in meadows of clover
And I gather armfuls of blossoms of blue.

I gather the blossoms the whole meadow over.
Dear mother, all flowers remind me of you.

O mother, I give you my love with each flower
To give forth sweet fragrance a whole lifetime through

For if I love blossoms and meadows and walking,
I learn how to love them, dear mother, from you.

I've been thinking (and getting choked up) about that last line a lot lately. Partly because it's spring and my yard was a clover field this year. Partly because I just finished reading The Green Hour and have been thinking about how to pass on my love of nature to my children. But mostly because it's Mother's Day on Sunday, and I do owe my love of blossoms and meadows and walking to my own wonderful mother.

My mom was so granola...Many of my childhood memories revolve around growing our own food and preserving it. Turning the crank on the applesauce strainer. Snapping beans for hours in front of the TV. Pausing to snag a few strawberries or raspberries while running next door to a friend's house. Picking blueberries at the you-pick farm for hours and hours in the hot sun. I remember the tediousness of those activities, and yet I remember them with a fondness. Those are memories I want my own kids to have some day.

When I think back on my childhood, I can barely remember the times I spent indoors. Instead I remember building forts in the woods, looking for toads, catching lightning bugs, climbing the tree in front of our house, riding bikes around and around and around the neighborhood. I remember childhood as sweet freedom, the kind of freedom kids today can only dream about.

Family vacations for us meant camping. I've camped in Kentucky and Idaho and most of the states in between. I've searched for firewood and roasted hot dogs and slept on the hardest dirt imaginable and had my tent blow down on me and eaten enough s'mores to make me sick. Literally. At the time, I definitely didn't see a connection between going camping and loving nature, but I fell in love with both of them anyway.

A few days ago, I read this beautiful quote on Imagine Childhood:
With so much emphasis on buying organic and sustainable....on using reusables and recycling recyclables...on reducing waste and conserving water and energy... it can be easy to forget that one of the most important parts of going green... is knowing green.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to know and love green. Thank you for taking us camping. Thank you for letting us run wild. Thank you even for the blueberries. Because if I love blossoms and meadows and walking enough to spend countless hours every day trying to get others to love them too, I owe it all to you.

What have you learned from your mother?

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