Happy Mother’s Day! Joyeuse Fete Des Meres!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY ! JOYEUSE FETE DES MERES ! Today is mother’s day in France… being French-American allows me to officially celebrate mothers for two whole weeks! I would like to dedicate today’s post to the most unique, creative, generous, compassionate, inquisitive, rebellious, obstinate, and all around magnificent woman that I know.

Ever since my spirit began taking shape and absorbing the cosmos, this fairy-like being gently and adoringly enlightened my path. She taught me to love boundlessly, to give without restraint, to cherish the earth and its creatures, to be fearless and powerful, and value driven. Her adventuresome spirit and tremendous wisdom have guided me to BELIEVE in life, and live every single moment with meaning and integrity.

This woman, who blossomed in the desert of wartorn Algeria with a cheetah as a best friend, who returned to the desert after obtaining a doctorate of art history at the Louvre, to become a National Geographic photojournalist. This woman, fearless climbing atop remote mountain ridges discovering the legendary witches of Niger’s Aïr, living among the panther men of the Ivory Coast jungles, the first person to interview the women of Algeria’s Mzab and the little known snake people of Appalachia. This woman, a story-teller and a poet, who lives to give and share. This woman, who’s path I have followed with undying admiration, from the dunes of the Sahara to Kentucky knobs, to green pastures of the Loire Valley… I am home in her essence. Her embrace is like her womb that shielded me once, many moons ago. This woman, who I cannot honor enough with simple human words. This woman, who I love like no other.

Thank you for being my guide, my mentor, my best friend, and above all else, my mother.

Photos: Aubine Kirtley by herself and with me as a baby, and with my brother Tercelin, my aunt, Isabelle and me in Senegal.