Description by John Steinbeck on “ma” and poem on Mother Nature in spring. (May 2014)

Susan's Thursday morning note May 8, 2014
Mother's Day - John Steinbeck description of "Ma" 
Mother Nature accepting help from flowers to "get dressed for spring"

Good morning!  Coffee in my favorite mug,  sun rays revealing my household dusting neglect, my outside view transformed from a few days ago with greens and color.  Perfect scenario for typing a few minutes for you!  I read two different writings this week I wanted to type out for you.  The first being a description of “Ma” in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  Character traits we all desire for strength, joy, dignity, humility.   The second being a poem on various flowers helping Mother Nature get dressed for spring.  Such a fun poem to imagine all in our view with voices and life.  Mother’s Day.  Creation.  Beauty.  Strength.  Loneliness.  Continuation of life.  So much wrapped in the word mother.  I hope you have someone in your life you get to love deeply with a mother’s love, regardless if your own child.  I hope you have someone in your life who loved you all the way to the inner sanctions of your soul, regardless of blood connection.  Mother. MaterAmor matris.  The love of a mother. 

Excerpt describing a mother of joy, strength, calm, beauty from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work. She wore a loose Mother Hubbard of gray cloth in which there had once been colored flowers, but the color was washed out now, so that the small flowered pattern was only a little lighter gray than the background. The dress came down to her ankles, and he strong, broad, bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floor. Her thin, steel-gray hair was gathered in a sparse wispy knot at the back of her head. Strong, freckled arms were bare to the elbow, and her hands were chubby and delicate, like those of a plump little girl.

She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.

But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess.

She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.

A Spring Song on Mother Nature receiving help from flowers to clothe herself in the spring (taken 1896 edition of Nature in Verse)

Old Mother Earth woke up from her sleep,
     And found she was cold and bare;
The winter was over, the spring was near,
     And she had not a dress to wear.

“Alas!” she sighed, with great dismay
    “Oh, where shall I get my clothes?
There’s not a place to buy a suit,
    And a dressmaker no one knows.”

‘I’ll make you a dress,” said the springing grass,
    Just looking above the ground.
“A dress of green of the loveliest sheen,    
    To cover you all around.”

“And we,” said the dandelions gay,
    “Will dot it with yellow bright.”
“I’ll make it a fringe,” said forget-me-not,
    “Of blue, very soft and light.”

“We’ll embroider the front,” said the violets,
    “With a lovely purple hue.”
“And we,” said the roses, “will make you a crown
    Of red, jeweled over with dew.”

“and we’ll be your gems,” said a voice from the shade,
    Where the ladies’ ear-drops live - 
“Orange is the color for any queen
    And the best we have to give.”

Old Mother Earth was thankful and glad,
As she put on her dress so gay;
And that is reason, my little ones,
She is looking so lovely today.

Such fun.  Spring.  Life.  Flowers with every personality showing us it’s okay to have all moods.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Joyful.  Expressive.  Simple.  Immaculate.  Prim.  Fresh.  Bright.  Pale.  Looking upward.  Kneeling.  Looking down.  Folding inward.  Spreading out.  All movements in our song showing throughout the world of the flowers.  And, each flower having different movements in their particular songs as their days unfold.  Not hard to see the same Creator involved in all.  Tonight I will show my creator thankfulness in handing me the gift of today.  Of sending to my door the angel of dawn.  I will have the chance to write particular notes from the movement of my song today onto my stone.  My epitaph tonight for the moments gone.  Will I have notes worthy of inscribing into the stone?  Moments to be thankful.  To see as children see the small details of what I am surrounded with?  Will I take the time to hear the footsteps walking towards me?  To touch a face.  To give myself reading time and a few moments of silence?  Life.  Beautiful life.  Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday.  Have a beautiful weekend and thank you so much for coming into our store for your gifts.  How I love being here for you.  Go into the song of your day.  The notes.  If you are in a minor section of your particular movement in your song of life, continue to play.  The next page may be the next movement of joy!   Susan

 

Latin for this week:
alma mater – nourishing mother
amor matris – the love of a mother
liberi animae meae – my children, my soul

Works Cited:
Lovejoy, Mary, Compiler.  Nature in Verse: A Poetry Reader for Children.  New York.  Silver, Burdett & Co.  1895.
Steinbeck, John.  The Grapes of Wrath.  New York.  Penguin Putnam.  2002.