For my latest Catapult column, I wrote about trees and motherhood. In it, I reflect on the challenges of pandemic parenting, re-reading The Giving Tree, the fig tree I lost to extreme weather, and what I’m learning about mothering from old-growth trees.
“Horrified that I had ever sent The Giving Tree to a new parent, I closed the book and tucked it away in the back of a closet, where I knew my children would not find it. But as I went about my day, its final line returned to me: “And the tree was happy.”
This was not the relationship to the natural world I wanted for myself or my children. And, in early motherhood, when so much was being asked of me, I feared what would happen if I too gave of myself until not much remained. Had I once believed that this is what it meant to love?”