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Mothers Day Mandala by Heather Hawk Maxwell

This tender 5×7 Mother’s Day card features a print of my original watercolor and pen and ink mandala. There’s nothing quite like the joy of a child holding Mom’s hand on a walk. I wanted to create a card that captures the wonder of these ordinary, beautiful moments. The inside of the card is blank, so that you can write your own message. You can order this card through our Etsy shop.

As with all my art, I create my work for myself. The next equally important step is sharing it more broadly. The trouble in this case is that I want you to see the card and have the opportunity to give it to your mother, but my mother sometimes sees my blog posts. So, Mom, if you are seeing this, Happy Mother’s Day early.

Inspiration for this drawing came from some of my favorite childhood memories connected to time spent in nature – nature walks in the spring, summer and fall, and cross country skiing in the winter. I loved the camping and canoe trips when I was young. I loved anticipating the first pasque flowers, dutchman’s britches and jack-in-the-pulpits in the spring and staying out late to watch the woodcocks fly high in the sky at dusk for their mating dance. I loved watching the sunset at Sumac Summit, our property near Sauk City where we spent a lot of time on weekends. And I loved picking and eating the vegetables we grew in our big garden there.

Our house was perched on a hill in the woods. We had a big picture window in the living room, above an exposed basement. It was like being up in a bird house. We had bird feeders out that window and I spent many, many hours watching the birds. I didn’t think about who kept those feeders filled, but my best guess is that it was Mom. Thanks.

One of my favorite birds to watch out that window, although it didn’t go to the feeders, was the brown creepers. They look like tiny little sparrow sized woodpeckers. I loved their streaked brown backs and bright white belly. I loved their jerky movements as they crept up and down the trees looking for bugs with their curved bills. I thought it was so neat that they are they only birds that go down trees face first.

In the woods behind our house there were giant patches of violets. Every spring I would pick giant bouquets which Mom would would put in a little vase for us to enjoy at home. And when it was Mulberry season, she let us bring home big bowls full to eat on vanilla ice cream.

Further away from home, I cherished the ‘Wandertagen’ (and yes the translation is just as you guessed -wander days) in forests in Germany, I loved the hikes up to the German castles, I loved exploring the Scottish Heather heaths, I soaked in the beauty of the Dutch tulip gardens, I had fun finding sea creatures in the Californian tide pools, but I admittedly wasn’t so sure what to think of swimming with the jellyfish in the Swedish ocean.

Mom, thanks for all you have done to encourage, nurture and feed my love of nature.

What did your mom inspire in you?