My nana and I used to wander the morning away along little hill roads and down to the sea. She didn't teach me anything on these walks, we were just together in old-fashioned quietness and a deep gentleness that came from her being a simple woman and me wishing to be one. A woman who found what she needed from wandering roads and being with her loved ones.
There have been many amazing women in the history of the world. Hypatia, Boudicca, the sister queens Mary and Elizabeth, Maya Angelou, Ursula le Guin, Emma Gonzalez, to name only a few. All have been inspiring in their own way. One of my own greatest inspirations was my nana. A simple woman. A gentle-hearted woman who never said a bad word about anyone. She knew the world did not admire her. She knew her ambition to be a homemaker and mother was not much valued. What did she do about that? She went on loving and loving, knitting for newborns, making scones for neighbours, waiting for visits from her family, living a small and simple life with a heart that was bigger than the universe. Like millions of mothers like her, she would count for nothing much in the historic annals of our civilisation.
But if I could choose between talking to Hypatia, getting writing advice from Maya Angelou, dancing in the Elizabethan court, or walking a dusty sunlit road with my nana, I would not hesitate for even a moment to choose the latter. To me, the most valuable inspiration of all is love. If women like my nana were upheld as powerful, wonderful inspirations; if they influenced our culture with their example, what a beautiful world this would be.