Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Josephine's mandalas: #4 of 21


(Shevat 15)

(For Tu Bishvat 02/10/90)

Trees are forever

(Click on the image for additional details)

Today I'm going to try something different.  I'm going to give a good look at my mother's 4th mandala and then take a walk and think about her mandala and then finish this blog post.  I'll be back in about an hour.


My mother rode horses when she was in her 20s and early 30s.  She did yoga in her 40s and tai chi in her 70s, but walking was not part of her life as far as I know.  My mother was a reader.  She traveled all over the world through books and magazines and films and television.

As I was walking in Whatcom Falls Park, which is deeply forested, I thought about the trees my mother drew on her 4th mandala and wondered if that was a tree from her childhood and what it meant to her.

The photo above may have been taken on her 7th birthday (April 30, 1923) in St. Paul, Minnesota.  While I was walking this morning I remembered the photo.  Until today, I would have said that she was standing next to her house in St. Paul, but looking at the photo now, I am guessing that she is in a public place -- maybe a park, maybe on church property.  Checking with the perennial calendar, I see that her birthday was on a Monday in 1923.  Perhaps the photo was taken at her school, although she does look as if she is dressed for church.  My guess is that her father took the photo.

My father planted two cherry trees side by side in our backyard in Redwood City.  I wonder if my mother asked him to plant them.  My father had planted an apple tree in another section of that backyard. When I was quite young and our family traveled from California to Minnesota, I remember an apple tree in the backyard of the house where my grandmother was still living after my grandfather had died.  I distinctly remember watching ants climbing on the tree.  I wanted to climb the tree but was discouraged from doing that.

My parents' home in Gualala was in Redwood country on the California's north coast, and my father planted a variety of evergreens on their property which previously had been a treeless grassy bluff.  I imagine, though, that there were lovely flowering trees in and around the town of Gualala in the spring.

I wonder if she had been thinking about the pink flowering almond tree that Thich Nhat Hanh writes about in his book The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice:

It was in November of 1989 that my mother created this mandala. November on the north coast of California can be something like summer here in the Pacific Northwest.  My memory is that there are flowers blooming all year in Gualala.  My mother was blooming in her 70s.

I just noticed the pink branches with dark flowers that are branching from the pink curved line at the bottom part of the mandala.

Below are some of the flowers that are just beginning to bloom on my porch today:

Here is Josephine's great grandson, Pablo, who is almost two months old.  That must be my nephew holding him:

Pablo is looking up at something in much the way my mother was when she stood next to that flowering tree in St. Paul, Minnesota, when she was 7 years old.

Trees are forever.


Sabine said...

This is a moving series of insights you are presenting. So many intricate observations and connections. Is it a good way to get in touch with your mother? I hope.

Anonymous said...

I love this tree meditation, your mother's mandala, and the connectedness of it all.

Tara said...

your mother's mandala is beautiful...what a talent in so many ways, reinventing herself and shedding old skin for new. Just like trees.

Beautiful post...much to ponder.

am said...

Sabine, robin andrea, Tara -- Thank you for coming along as I look closely at my mother's mandalas.

Sabine -- This is a good way to get in touch with my mother. There are loving and hurtful memories in connection with her that are surfacing. In experiencing these mandalas, I am seeing a woman who had her own loves and hurts and confusions and questions, and I am seeing that the mandalas were a way for her to address that all in a creative way.