Ever since the first Earthday, over forty years ago, I have wondered why Mothers themselves don’t rise up with one voice to implore their children to do something for the Earth on Mother’s Day. In my mind, healing our relationship with our planet is so vitally important that it needs to be a process that we remember every day. A tree planting, garden party, expedition or ecological adventure would be far superior to some of the Mother’s Day fiascoes that I have heard about or actually been involved with. Women, especially moms, have the ability to guide others to better behavior, teach the most intimate lessons and model attitudes that shape culture.
Just a couple of years ago, I saw how awful some folks’ Mother’s Days can get. I was coming home early in the morning and a middle-aged woman, who looked drunk from the night before was pounding on a house down the block yelling obscenities peppered with the word “Mom” and the phrase “let me in”. I called the cops about it, which is very odd. I’m normally fairly tolerant of the behaviors of others. The primary driving force that made me abandon my normally libertarian ideals was that I was very tired, hungry and my initial impulse was to beat the woman up, but thinking better of it, calling the cops was the next best thing. Perhaps my respect for her mom was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wouldn’t want to let one of my children into my house on my “special day” if they were as out of control as this drunk lady was. Who wouldn’t want to work together, to make the world a better place, rather than have a resentful spoiled child having a tantrum on your porch? besides, I like the older woman enough to respect her mother’s day, it seemed, more than her own child did.
Our moms and the Earth herself share several similarities. They are masters of forgiveness. Nearly anything stupid, mean or thoughtless that we do that hurts them is immediately and completely forgiven. Some think that only the “Lord” has the power to forgive sin, but supposedly he keeps track of these things for judgment day. The Lady forgives all, loves us in spite of our shortcomings and loves us in spite, it seems, of our bad behavior. Neither do they keep an accounting of our offenses. The Earth and our moms both love and support us completely. Every cell in our bodies has always and will forever be supported, sheltered, nourished and nurtured by Mother Earth and Mom. Sadly, many of us lose our mothers, or become neglectful of their influence on our lives somewhere along our way, but Mom and the Earth stand by us, and embrace us even after our worldly vessel meets it’s demise.
100 million households, each planting a tree on this day, could create over three hundred thousand acres of forest. That’s 520 square miles for those who don’t do acres. To put it in perspective, that would be like a mile wide swath of forest from Lake Michigan at Chicago, South and West through Springfield, Illinois, on to St.Louis, and as if that were not enough continuing southwest to Springfield, Missouri and then, another eleven miles! Another way of looking at it is that we could reforest a mile wide stretch from New York to L.A. every five and one half years. Yes, I think that planting a tree on mother’s day is much better than giving her a card or sending flowers. Flowers can be composted after their blossoms fade, but a tree becomes more and more grand as the years go by.
Bless you Mother and may all your days be rich with the knowledge that your children are on the right track. For all you children out there, don’t send mom flowers which will wilt in a few days, plant her a tree that will blossom year after year and remind her great-great grandchildren that she was loved and respected as much as this great big planet that we will eventually pass on to them. As more and more people realize the central role that the planet plays in all of our lives, as we realize the depth of gratitude that we should reflect for everything that the planet offers, perhaps we will learn to love our mothers in ways that we never knew existed. Both of them. The mother Earth that cleans our air, replenishes the rivers and feeds us every calorie that we burn and the women who gave us life and a safe place to stay for the nine months or so that we were growing into tiny and vulnerable creatures. appreciate for a moment if you will, the great leap of faith that is required to give your life completely to a child that is completely dependent on you for survival, then realize that both Mom and Mother Earth deserve your attention, not just on a single day, but each and every day of your life.Planting a tree in the service or memory of either of our Mothers, can only lead to a better world.
As for my self, I started planting trees as a young adult and got serious about it only after I turned twenty. I started planting trees in earnest with a small group of friends and family when I started getting tax returns. I immediately realized that to buy trees wholesale, I needed a tax ID number and a business name. Thus, my first foray into government regulation. After registering as This is not art. I was able to buy from wholesale nurseries and get massive volume discounts for the thousands of trees that we planted over the years. It took about twelve to fifteen years to plant the first sixty thousand. Since organizing as a not-for-profit, just six years ago, and expanding the plant-ins considerably, we have been able to plant more than sixty thousand trees in just the past six years. It may seem that the impact and “special’ feelings that one would get from a tree that they invested part of themselves in would be hard to extend to tens of thousands of tiny sprouts, but that’s not the case. Each and every tree that gets planted hosts a world of change. They each have the power to change the world for the better and I like to think that, in their own way, they give me the chance to feel just a tiny wisp of the deep and powerful feelings our mothers have for us. Give back, love your mother. Any day will do, pick any or all days to show your mother the depth of love she has shown you.