Why is it that, since ancient times, cultures all over the world have so often prefaced references to ‘Nature’ or ‘Earth’ by another word: ‘Mother’?
Perhaps—at least in the English language—this connection is logical, for intriguingly, the term ‘nature’ comes from the Latin natura, which in turn is connected to words for birth.
Yet this tendency to link motherhood with nature and the Earth has surely been not so much about language as about emotions, meaning, and everything associated with the maternal function. With motherhood—as with nature—comes the power to grow and give life, and to feed and to nurture. A mother is symbolic of increase, fertility, nourishment and abundance. She endures the pain of labour; she is potent and resilient. Both fierce and tender, she is simultaneously a warrior and a place of refuge.
The ability to nourish, defend and cherish is not exclusive to mothers, however. It’s worth going back to language to explain why, because ‘mother’ is not just a noun, but also a verb. To mother someone or something is to care for and protect them, to comfort or to fortify, sometimes to teach hard lessons through tough love. The ultimate goal is the wellbeing of whomever or whatever we care for, which can be considered crucial whether or not we have ever given birth.
So with Mother’s Day this year, maybe it’s an idea to consider the many different ways in which love can make warriors and protectors of us all. How we fight for those we love, strive to protect the planet we love and maybe, in these increasingly testing times, how we love and mother ourselves.
A happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers, grandmothers, nurturers, aunties and caregivers out there from us at Koala Eco. X Jess