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bending like a tree in the wind, being as patient as trees or being up a tree with no way down. Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. And often, we bark up the wrong tree intensely believing that it is the right one.

We all have mama trees and each one is very precious. However complex your relationship with the person who gave you life, without her, you would not be the person you are today. And when our mama tree passes, a huge part of what made us who we are, will also pass. Regardless of our age, when our mama tree passes our childhoods are firmly and finally behind us and we are now the elders. But like the mighty oak, there is renewal and new growth from each experience and in each new season of life.

My family tree has many, many branches. Hundreds at least. Some as big around as the trunk of a smaller species and some much smaller reflecting its continued growth. I like to think of those branches as bits and pieces of our lives as a family. From my Daddy, I learned about the herbs and plants in the woods, how to read animal tracks, how to watch for snakes, how to throw a knife, how to read the Signs, how to let wild things be wild and how to wander. From my Mama, I learned about hard work, how to keep a clean house, how to raise a garden, preserve food and take care of kids, how to read dreams, how to tame wild things, how to pray and the importance of roots. She loves that piece of land fiercely and the stability it provided for her family all the more for the sweat put into its having. And I am ever grateful for the traditional healing knowledge that he and my grandparents carried across the generations. Those all are many branches on the family tree.

We are the seed that carries forth. We embody the gifts, thoughts, and history of those branches who came before us. Within us are generations of amazing people who lived, loved and died passing on their knowledge and traditions in ways that we may not comprehend at the moment but which becomes clearer with time. And we now have the same opportunity to continue passing on our g e n e r a t i o n a l knowledge. So let your branches grow stronger, lift your leaves to the heavens and stand rooted in your beliefs. Honor your mama tree while you can. Appreciate the gifts, the lessons, and the teachings that were given. Don’t hesitate to let her know that she did the best she could as you are also doing the best you can. Whether you are an acorn that didn’t fall far from the tree or one taken and dropped distantly by an animal, take a moment and remember your origins. Visualize that mother tree, her branches covering you. Her roots firmly embedded in the earth, her leaves reaching for the heavens. She is all mothers and all women. She is the earth.

It is my family’s mother tree. It stands at the center, just the way Mama has been the center of our family all these years. It symbolizes her strength of character and will, her indomitable spirit, and continued ability to endure.

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