This Mother’s Day commit to showing love to the original mother too.
So it’s coming on that time of year again.
The easter eggs have been in the shops for about three months so we know it’s still at least another month until easter. The pretend green plastic shamrocks are being inflated as the pretend green inflated politicians are readying themselves for global paddy pushing junkets whilst their citizens sleep on streets and hospital trolleys and in cold houses across this supposed fair green land - so the snake charming saint’s day is imminent.
And wedged in between the alcohol fest and the chocolate fest is the day when we celebrate those who should be celebrated above and beyond saints and saviours - mothers.
Sunday week the 19th is Mother’s Day. It’s the day officially allocated to us to take a few hours to acknowledge the women responsible for our very existence - our mams, mums, moms, mammies, mummies, mothers, the auld one, herself - whatever we call our mothers it doesn’t matter so long as we call them. And we should call them and thank them, for to be a mother for a moment is to be a mother for life. They know us like no-one else. They grew us inside them. They nurtured us. Protected us. Taught us. Inspired us. Stood by us. Pushed us. Put up with us. They loved us. Love us. Always. It’s not a choice. It’s what mothers do. It’s nature.
My own mother passed to cancer over a decade ago. And as she lay there in the hospital bed riddled with it and in pain on a cold January day her main concern? I’d walked into the ward without a coat. It’s freezing out there. Have you got a coat? Why haven’t you got a coat on? You’ll catch your death…it was what she’d done for most of her life. Mothered. Cared. Watched over. Loved. Naturally. It was her nature. To the end.
The year before my mum left us my wife and I had accidentally stumbled across a small unoccupied farm that was up for sale. This farm was unlike any other farms I’d been on before. Hidden down a pot hole ridden half mile lane and with no road frontage the first time we walked onto it we were immediately smitten. Whilst the fields had been set out by the owners for silage production the edges had been let go wild. Trees had been planted to provide cover for pheasant shoots. Large ponds had been developed in a substantial wetland area to allow for fishing and duck shooting. The farm had sat on the market for some time as the wild that had been created for hunting was not of value to agricultural production. However what farmers saw as a liability we saw as an invaluable positive. Nature. Habitat. Beautiful in all its wild messiness.
We loved it. Wanted to protect it. Nurture it. Mother it I suppose.
But this hadn’t been in our plans. Our sights had been set on warmer climes. Foreign adventures.
Should we scrap our plans? Change tack completely? Should we take this on? Could we take this on? We talked ourselves into it. Then out of it. Into it again then out of it then back in again. This went on for over a year. We tried to shake it. To continue with our plans. But it called to us. It felt like where we should be.
About six months after my mother’s passing we decided to stick with the original plan. It looked like the kids would grow up speaking French and collecting baguettes from the local boulangerie.
We set about organising the move in earnest.
Then a funny thing happened.
The farm had been on my mind. Niggling.
Sound asleep one night. A familiar voice whispers soothingly in my ear ‘It’ll be okay’. I sit bolt upright wide awake. No one there. My wife asleep. Now I’m not a guy that holds any stock by afterlives and the like but that voice had been my mother voice. Over tired dream or something else I don’t know. But it was my mother’s voice.
The following day I’m drawn to visit the farm. One last look. Au revoir and all that.
With the previous night’s occurrence running through my head as I drive the twenty or so minutes on back roads I challenge the universe. Show me a sign. If you want me here show me a sign.
I arrive in the empty yard. Park. Walk down the lane by the old shed. Pheasants scurry before me. Birdsong fills the air. Bees buzz by. Hovers hover. Nothing unusual for this place. Familiar from many previous visits. Down the side of the big field, barley filled, I head for the spot I prefer. The large pond in the wetland. Through the dip which marks the entrance to the wetland I’m distractedly checking my phone for messages. Nervous ducks rising off the pond as I approach make me glance up.
And there it is.
The universe’s response to my challenge. In your face buddy.
The sign I had glibly requested.
Floating in pure white peacefulness across the pond.
A wild swan.
Adrenalin pops. Hair stands on end. I sit.
In her graceful presence for an hour or more.
She was gone the next day.
Along with our plans.
And the farm was ours.
That farm is now the only native wild bee sanctuary on the planet.
Since that day we have protected her. Nurtured her. Cared for her. Loved her. Mothered her.
Learned from her. Listened to her.
Her and all the creatures she is home to. All the trees. All the bees. All the flowers.
Because when you get to live in a place like this you realise that we all owe the lives we get to live to the mother of all mothers - mother nature.
She is the creator. The giver of life. She provides. She shelters. Unconditionally.
You also realise very quickly that mother nature is failing at our collective hand.
She needs us to show her the love and respect we show our own mothers.
She provides all and asks very little. But even that little now seems to be too much to us in our arrogance. Our race to progress. Our disconnect.
So this Mother’s Day how about we cherish and celebrate our mothers and the original mother?
Mammy and Mammy Nature.
Bring flowers to one and sow wildflowers for the other.
But don’t take them for granted.
Show them the love now.
It’s too late when they’re gone.
To honour Irish Mammies we’re creating what we call The Mother Woodland here on the sanctuary. A willow woodland habitat specifically dedicated to mothers. Your mother can be part of this. You can gift her a tree planted in her honour in this unique woodland for Mother’s Day.
Check out savingbees.ie for more details.
Thanks Mum. x