The Mother’s Day Pilgrimage

“What are you guy in town for?” I ask the guests. It’s a man and woman, both with round faces and hair shaved down to their scalp.

The man looks ecstactic to be here.

The woman does not.

“We’re actually on our way to [name of near by park],” He tells me smiling from ear to ear, “We…”

Before he can finish his sentence, his wife cuts him off, giving him a stern look.

“We just want to spend our Sunday in nature, check out the wild life around here, you know…” She says giving me a quick smile.

“Oh that sounds fun!” I tell them, finishing up their check in.


The next morning they get up at 2:30 am on the dot. They silently dress and sneak out the side door of the hotel.

They get into their car, cut off the radio and singing Barbra Streisand’s ‘The Way We Were’ in a perfect two part harmony. Then they sing Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’. Then Joni Mitchel’s ‘Both Side Now’.

They are singing all the favorite songs of all the mothers in their family.

After few more songs they got to the park. They get on one trial, then they get off of it, heading deep into the untouched forest. Then they find it.

It’s The Pine. It’s tall, with branches spread wide, open arms ready to pull you in.

They start to dig and dig and dig. They dig exactly 2 feet down, each pulling out a separate measuring tape to be accurate. Then they pull zip lock bags out, full of hair. They dump the hair into the hole and bury it.

They both sigh, say a prayer, and head back to the car.

Then they go home.

Every mothers day, they shave their heads sing their mothers’ favorite songs and come to this tree and bury their hair.

This is a ritual that has been in their family since coming to America. They don’t know why they do it. They don’t know if it’s legal to do. They don’t know if it really affects anything.

What they do know is that when they are there, that their mother was there and her mother was there and her mother was there and so on, and that makes it worth it.



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