On Birds and Bigness and Mothering

Marissa on Birds from Kimi Eisele on Vimeo.

In front of me stood the spiked, angular shapes of the hills and the mountains, like silhouette cutouts against the blue expansion of sky. Behind me was the valley, sprawled out across the vast amount of space, spotted with pockets of civilization.

I felt so small. I felt so small. I felt so small, standing there.

There was no way to fill all that space up with myself. I could only stand, with the wind whistling in my ear and it’s invisible fingers tugging at my dress, and just be. Be a small part of something bigger than myself.

It struck me how often, as humans, we think that we can fill any space with ourselves. We are raised to believe that we can consume anything we need or want. But standing on the mountainside, I didn’t feel like I could consume anything. I felt powerless, I felt awestruck, I felt small.

I have two daughters and, like most mothers, I have so many hopes and dreams for them. I look at them and I see such potential and I want to ingrain in them the message that they can take that potential and run, run, RUN away with it. I want them to feel powerful, confident, and I would never want them to feel small… except…except…

Except, I felt small standing there at the top of the Rosemont Mine site, and there wasn’t anything wrong with this smallness. This smallness was a gift, it was a moment where I could say, “I am small, but I am a part of something big.” And that is an important knowledge to have. Because when we have that knowledge we can become aware of our part. Humans are powerful, but with that power comes a responsibility. Just because we can take, should we? Just because we have the power to consume, should we always use it?

I want to raise my daughters to have an appreciation for Nature. I want them to know that Nature is something that should be respected, that the raw power of the earth is greater than they are, but that they are a part of that greatness. There is an awareness, a reverence that we owe to this earth and to the creatures and vegetation that we share it with- they were here before us, after all. They deserve to be thought of, to be acknowledged that they are also a small part of something bigger.

-Marissa Marquardson, dancer


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