|For Magpie #43|
She explained to my puzzled look, "When my mother lived in your little cottage, she would turn that light on for me and I would think, Oh, Mom, I've just gone for a walk. I know my way back. But then I'd realize what she was doing. She was just letting me know she was there, as a mother should. I came to think of it as the Mother Light."
I thought about that, about ways that mothers light the way for their children and how we do it long after they are grown and no longer need us. My own mother used to leave the porch light on for me if I'd gone for a walk and darkness fell before I returned. If I took the car, the garage light was always on when I came home after sunset. She didn't need to do it. I was perfectly capable of finding my way in the dark. It was a courtesy and a small sign of mother love that kept her turning on lights for me long after I needed her to.
There was, as well, the light in her eyes whenever she saw any of her children, and the light in her heart that expressed itself over and over in countless doings for each of us. Never did we go out but that some light - porch, hall, stair - was left burning for us. And when she died, she left the light burning in our hearts so that we could see where it was we needed to go.
The physical lights of porch and stair are symbols for the mother light that shines internally, eternally. They say, I am here in a visual way, just as the spoken words resonate in a child's ear and heart. What better task for a mother to take upon herself than shedding light where there is darkness?