FOR NEARLY FORTY YEARS, Orion has curated some of the best writing and photography about the relationship between people and nature. This Mother’s Day, Orion staff selected five of our most memorable recent pieces about motherhood, about the strength and compassion, the joy and fatigue and courage sustained by all mothers of the world.
Mothering in Bad Weather by Bathsheba Demuth and Peggy O’Donnell
Art: Gustav Klimt, Mutter mit Zwei Kindern (Familie), 1910 | 2012 legat peter parzer, Wien, Austria
“Offill allows her characters to mother in a plurality of ways: giving birth to children of their own; offering child care for the children of neighbors or relatives; educating or advocating for the children of all. Mothering, in the world she draws, can be a wide-ranging act. Love of the young is capacious. Caring for their lives has no biological requirement.”
Cherry Season by Katrina Vandenberg
Photograph by Andriyko Podilnyk
“Inside every question I have about mothers and daughters, I find another.
They open and open into infinity.”
Mother Culture by Carl Safina
Photography by Cristina Mittermeier
“A mother sperm whale spends five-sixths of her time far from her baby. And this dilemma, more than anything, drives the sperm whale’s social arrangement of living in female-led families where everyone knows each other and everyone protects the young.”
Fear Itself by Melanie Challenger
Photography by Mark Laita
“I don’t believe I was truly fearful until I became a mother, which was seven years ago now. There is experiencing fear for yourself, which is really an acute category of loneliness, when you become suddenly aware of your vulnerability and of your entrapment in your single, unique body. Then there is fear for your children, which, loosed from the confines of one body to worry about, magnifies and outstretches both time and specifics. I suspect that many parents are towed by an invisible thread of fear for their children pretty much their whole lives.”
Baby Fever by Belle Boggs
November | December 2015
Photograph courtesy of the San Diego Zoo
“Human child-longing goes by different names, depending where you live. The English call women afflicted by this condition broody, a term borrowed from the henhouse. (Broody hens are the ones who won’t rest or roost, but sit constantly on a clutch of eggs, sometimes plucking out their breast feathers to keep the eggs warm.) Americans, perpetual taskmasters, say that the biological clock is ticking. In Scandinavia they call it baby fever, a widely observed condition, which manifests itself as everything from a generalized wishing for a child to a delirious, aching sickness.”
- Consider an Orion gift subscription for your loved ones this year.
- Read last year’s Together Apart conversation about motherhood between Orion contributing editors Meera Subramanian and Elizabeth Rush.