Nature and Other Mothers: Reflections on the Feminine in Everyday Life by Brenda Peterson is a lyrical and life enhancing collection of essays on the lessons learned from various spiritual teachers. The author is a hospitable and sensitive woman who celebrates feminine bonds with nature, animals, the body, feelings and emotions, and the good vibes between family members and soul friends.
In the essay "Other Teachers Than Terror," Peterson recalls her childhood experiences of growing up during the paranoid height of the Cold War and contrasts them with a swim with dolphins in a Florida lagoon. She notes: "The dolphin's intense need for affection and a highly developed emotional life is the survival tool that has determined his species' evolution." Certainly this survival tool is preferable to the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air which continue to hold sway in America.
Peterson learns to be more at home in her body after suffering a year-long skin affliction. Read her essay about this alongside one about the joy of baths, and you'll be two steps closer to an appreciation of this author's magical ability to tease spiritual meaning out of her experiences.
"Know the male," instructs the Tao Te Ching, "but keep the female." Peterson agrees. Check out her wonderful essay on "The Sacredness of Chores" where she shares the healing power of household rituals of cleaning up. There are large doses of wonder, humor, and warmth in pieces on the author's love of making musical tapes for friends, her belief in the power of dreams, and her respect for elders--whether that means a grandfather or an ancient tree. Nature and Other Mothers is overflowing with heartening and healing spiritual insights.