Are You My Mother: Tribute to Teacher and Land, Both whom I Met when I thought I had Nothing

That first year, my teacher’s guidance resounding in my ears, I danced until I could no longer walk or see straight. I flailed my body through every open space in New York City in feverish exaltation. I could love again, and most importantly, love myself. I no longer needed to clamor for love in so many places and things, for I could embody all I ever wanted with just this flesh, this momentum, this heart, these hands.

I heard my own voice translate the dreamy tenants of my heart, distilling the macramé of city-sound as I awoke in the breast of a still, dark ocean, in a voice deep and roaring, a longing for mother and home.

In stillness, longing thundered through my being. Longing. A longing that had raged in my blood since I was a child; forever reaching, yearning, wailing insatiably for love and solace. Longing called me away from my familiar cityhive, ripped me to pieces for months as I tried and failed miserably to sleep in my own strange bed in Brooklyn. Eventually, I could no longer refuse its direction and breathed farewell to all I knew and loved, blinking a cocktail of confused affection, and drove off westward alone.

I drove, baffled as the ones I left behind. Only by doing could I translate the meaning of this calling. The miles disappeared beneath my tires. All familiars fell away.

“Change is good exercise,” an angel said.

The landscape transformed against the windows, south and west across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

And when I crossed the boarder into New Mexico and saw the mountains against the yawning blue sky, I suddenly felt the realization of the gorgeous symbolic significance of these twenty-six years in voracious motherlessness and homelessness that charged this hungry heart forward, searching and searching, to at last lay eyes, soul and body now upon the truest, fiercest, fullest meaning of Mother.

Here, she roared around me, holding me with every breath—with every breath, welding the terrestrial and celestial home in these two feet and red earth, home in this earthen body towering alongside the others in one embodied incarnation of Her strength, home as I heard my voice say, “Thank you Mama, Here I am.”

~ Julia Daye