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Mother's Day [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

Mother’s Day is nostalgic for me because I lost my mother at the age of 66 to pancreatic cancer—she didn’t smoke or drink, and she ate well, so it was an incredible shock at the time. This month’s article, “The Mother Our Souls Need,” on page 23, reminds me of how my mother and I both connected to the Earth, and to each other. I would like to share my Mother’s Day story with all of you.

As a little background, I was about 5 years old when my mother and I started taking horseback riding lessons. Well, this turned into a lifetime of owning and riding horses, and it was a hobby that we could share.

We lived in an area with cold winters, so the horses would get big, furry coats, including long “feathers” on their legs. In the spring, the shedding started—hair everywhere, with a good dose of ground-in mud! One year, my mother said, “I know what you can do for me on Mother’s Day that would be better than going to lunch: Trim the winter hair off of Blue’s legs and shave his mane.” Blue was her Appaloosa, and he didn’t have much of a mane, just the odd tuft sticking straight up in the air. The hair on his legs was also spotty, so generally speaking, he looked pretty rough in the spring.

I thought this Mother’s Day option was a great idea because we could spend time together with our horses, be outside in the fresh air, and accomplish something at the same time. From her perspective, the best part was that I was handling the hair clippers. She admittedly wasn’t very handy with them, so there was always a chance poor Blue would end up looking even rattier by the end of the session if she was at the helm!

The day was a big success, and we made it our yearly tradition. It was always that way though with us—we’d rather be outdoors than doing pretty much anything else. It was a good way to grow up, and later on, I would gain strength from my strong connection with the environment, which I believe originated from the time my mother and I spent together with the Earth and our animals.

I miss her dearly, but I am blessed that we got along so well and shared many fun times together, even when we were up to our eyeballs in mud and horse hair.

Happy Mother’s Day!