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This may be an unusual way to start this article but I find myself fascinated by the behavior of animals.

I remember when I had the great opportunity to visit Alaska. We were riding a bus through Denali National Park. Along the side of the road there was a lone person with a camera fixed on a nest on the side of a cliff. The photographer had been there for two weeks awaiting the hatching of the eggs of a golden eagle. The time was drawing near when the eaglet was to make its appearance.

There was no getting close to the nest. The parents were very protective of the soon to be born. The photographer would capture the entry of the eagle into the wonder of nature. From the feeding of the newborn to the negotiating of the wind the parents would be forever present.

This past week I observed a mother duck walking her ducklings through a park. She had her eyes both on her young as well as me. There was no way she was going to let me get near her young.

There is the instinct that nature puts into parents which both nourishes and protects their young through the most vulnerable of times. I remember my Mother cradling my younger brother as she fed him during the first months of life. Usually after he had been fed she lullabyed him to sleep with her soft singing as well as the assuring beat of her heart where he rested peacefully.

Mothers have a way of picking up on our unspoken thoughts as well as our private fears. Without our saying a word mothers read our hearts. Even when we have done something that we are sure has gone unnoticed mothers have a way of knowing. We indignantly inquire, “How did you know?” I remember my Mother used to answer such an inquiry with the enigmatic “A little bird told me”. Only later did I realize that mothers in addition to taking care and protecting us are also much smarter than we are.

Mothers can understand their sons who say very little. They also are there when their daughters need to share some “girl talk”.

Mothers share our joys and our achievements. They see in us qualities that escape everyone, even ourselves. Our greatest happiness often is found in their joy and happiness. Our greatest sadness is when they are no longer around to share our lives. Yet they are always with us. In our birth, while we are growing and learning and even when they have gone on there is a part of them that is always watching over us.

To all who are Mothers of our parish we wish a Happy Mother’s Day. To those who are no longer with us we also extend our love and our gratitude.

Reverend William D. Mannion