From Milwaukee Renaissance

PeaceOfMind: GivingThanks

Giving Thanks

By Tom Gardner

Thank you Mother, for this life.
For the blessings and the sorrows,
And the perpetual wonderment
Of moments, counter-balanced so.

Thank you Mother, for the gifts 
You’ve graced me with. For laughter
And for love, and an open heart.
May I only prove worthy of them.

And thank you so for my brothers and sisters.
We are your children.
Help us to awaken, help us to realize
The one simple truth: 
That we are here to love
One another, and care for you.

Thank you, Mother,
Your son.

The central figure in this image is a Yupik doll, made by Beulah Oittillian of Gambell, AK, on the western cape of St. Lawrence Island. I taught English there the school year of ‘04-‘06. The doll is dressed in traditional women’s garb—anorak of walrus stomach, sealskin mukluqs, beading, etc. Her hair was Beulah’s daughter’s, who now carries on the tradition of making these exquisite dolls. I came back with all sorts of Yupik stuff — in the hole from what should have been a money-making proposition, but I was profoundly affected by that year in ways I’m probably still just discovering. I layered her image into several beds of mid-July flowers, which to me becomes a northern Goddess, combining the seasons, and the elements into her countenance. 

Somewhere along the line, I determined that probably the best course to follow in leading my life was to do so in a way that would make my mother proud, and I was fortunate enough to know that she was while she was here, and ever more certain of it since she’s gone. Somewhere a little further on the down the line, the notion of ‘my’ mother, and ‘our’ mother became intertwined & inseparable. The awareness came to me of the truly sacred nature of the Divine Feminine.

So yes, in other words, this image is of my mother!

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