A Brief Musing on Mothers and Mountains

Sunset over Kibo, Kilimanjaro
Sunset over Kibo, Kilimanjaro

Today is Mother’s Day, at least here in the U.S. And since the theme of this blog is from swamp to summit, a brief shout out to all mothers may be appropriate.

Of course, there’s my own personal experience of motherhood – both as mother to my two daughters and as a daughter and granddaughter myself. I was fortunate enough to know both my grandmothers – one from South Yorkshire in England, and the other from a small town in Alabama. Yes, I know it’s an unusual combination, but that’s a story for another day. Both of them worked, one as a career teacher and the other as a registrar at a college. They were both determined and fiercely independent women. I still wish I had seen them together when the Alabama grandmother and the Yorkshire grandmother went sight seeing together in London. I can only imagine.

My own mother shares all those characteristics. She took up running in her late 40s, after discovering she had a natural talent for it, and ran for many years – including winning her age category in quite a few 5Ks. To this day she still walks a good two miles daily. I sometimes wonder if her sudden shift to become a runner helped inspire my decision to take up mountaineering and trekking at age 49.

Being a mother certainly encompasses both swamps and summits. And since the younger daughter – known as S – graduates next weekend from Tulane University in New Orleans, I’m looking forward to experiencing a summit in the swamp.

And just one more musing on the topic of mountains and mothers – the earth itself is described as Mother Earth, Gaia…maybe we’re all looking to return to the mother of all of us, to reach back to something primal and life giving, and that’s what leads us to the swamp, along the trail, up the mountain. Countdown is seven weeks to Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.

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