Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Ma,

Thank you, thank you, thank you

A woodsman is no man at all without giving credit where credit is due. This week, in recognition of Mother’s Day, I'd like to thank my mother, and express my gratitude for raising me to have an appreciation for nature as well as my neighboring woodsmen and women. Ma has been behind the scenes in many of my stories and nearly all of the words I've printed here - a true unsung hero. Today is the day I sing her song.

Dear Ma,

Thanks to you, I have so much to be thankful for. I have courage, free will, and the ability to chase my dreams. I have a big family, full of strong individuals who are filled with heart and empathy for one another. And lastly, thanks to you, I will always have a compassionate, understanding, and safe place in this world to call home.

I know sometimes I let you down. Like when I'm not on time for dinner because I'm out fishing or when I don't call you back right away... because I'm out fishing. Or sometimes in a more somber way; like when I make decisions you do not understand or speak unkindly when my blood is up. You envelope all these things regardless of whether I apologize or not (though I try to, rest assured). It is a lesson in compassion - thank you.

One time I was playing in the basement after my half-day of Kindergarten. I was standing on a stump of wood by the furnace, trying to climb atop a pile of firewood when I fell. I slipped and tore open the back of my heel and bled all over the cold concrete floor. You were queasy around blood but you carried me, crying, and bandaged me up before taking me to the hospital for a gaggle of stitches. You showed me a mother's compassion, what a parent can overcome, you showed me courage - thank you.

As a kid, I still remember the day it dawned on me that I would never be a ninja turtle. Until that point, whenever anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them - “ninja turtle”. Of course people laughed at that, it's funny. But later in life I graduated, and I wanted to go off and do art and change the world, open people's eyes. Again people laughed, but this time I didn't think it was so funny. You said "don't listen, dear," and gave me the best opportunity you could for me to follow my dreams. I realize now this was not an easy thing to do, so thank you, for standing behind me then.

You have taught me the finer details in life, the abstractions I cannot hold in my hands. I have learned to observe the world physically and mentally, and to challenge that view early and often. I realize now that this is not an easy thing to do, thank you for the free will to come back around to understanding.

"It's all about presentation," you would tell us as children when we wrapped gifts to exchange for holidays and birthdays. We were to try our best at making the gift presentable, because that expressed the thought we put into giving -the time the other person was worth. You fostered this giving environment as a way to reinforce family bonds and an example as to how we should treat people for the rest of our lives. I realize now that this was not always so easy to do, and for your fortitude in caring, as an example in raising a family, I thank you.

Life has not always been kind to you, mother, but you have been exemplary in resilience. You have shown us all what to do when life hands you lemons, so that I have grown to appreciate the taste of lemonade. I have been down on my luck too, and you have carried the torch for me then, so that I will not fear the caverns now. Thank you for your guidance in living a life in the light. Because of that, I will forevermore know where home is.

"I looked out this morning and the sun was gone, turned on some music to start my day, I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away."
- Boston "More Than A Feeling"

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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