The Mother

A review of the new film by Skip Armstrong and Forge Motion Pictures

Flat-water kayak films are typically light on storytelling but heavy on imagery. Exploring the maternal side of paddling a Utah river action takes a backseat to metaphor in The Mother. This next installment in the Forge Motion Pictures series Of Souls & Water journeys through a sandstone canyon from the perspective of a life giver.

At 67 Melody Shapiro, a retired psychologist and mother of two with five grandchildren, is delighted to discover that after so many years of existence behind her she still has dreams for the future.

“Dreams are being able to stay in the flow of life, to be able to move through the challenges that will always be thrown at us, to not shut down and stay open to possibilities,” she says in the film. “Dreams are being able to nurture life, the unfolding of life without hindering, controlling or exploiting.”

With the affectionate care of a mother tending her young Shapiro allows each of her life’s moments to emerge, grow and form to achieve their full potential. Though admittedly small in comparison to the grand scheme of the natural world she envisions herself as the protector of life while thoroughly engaged within it through her love of paddling and moving with the flow of the water. And though she contemplates the end of her existence and prospects of death she welcomes the experience without fear as part of life’s great mystery.

This short film that premiered at the 5Point Film Festival is beautifully directed by Skip Armstrong to illustrate the subtle elegance of the Utah desert. Set against the context of Shapiro’s shared experience The Mother provides an alternative view of what lies in store if only we give our lives and the world in which we live the love and nurturing they deserve.

The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the support sponsors Patagonia, Rayovac and the New Belgium Brewing Company

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.