Roots are important. Rarely seen, they provide nutrients and grounding; they play second fiddle to the foliage and flowers above. Without roots the plant would die, the flowers wilt. Even the mighty Live Oak cracks and fades. The human plant has roots too: memories and histories that keep us grounded and give us something to draw from, to hold onto. Where we come from shapes us – good or bad. It's up to us to mold that shape into who we want to become.
I was raised to love simple things: vegetable gardens, climbing trees, wood-burning fire places. Gorgeous afternoons found my family and me clambering into the van, off on wild, dirt road adventures. The four of us pit stopped at The Cupboard for Coke, peanuts, and those little chocolate cookies that taste a little like cardboard without the gloppy, white cream in the middle.
Dad poured his peanuts into his Coke. Mom lazily sipped Dr. Pepper from a glass bottle. My sister and I licked clean the cream from their chocolate hulls and sent the cookies flying out open windows, turning to watch them skip the asphalt behind us. We were on a mission: Mom needed more rocks to line her garden wall. What better way to get these additions than to adopt them from abandoned Georgia clay? We made up songs about boiled peanuts and groaned when the parents popped in cassettes of “that mountain music”.
Gardens and swimming pools were our daily backdrop, hammered dulcimers and wind chimes our soundtrack. School breaks alternated between mountain tops and seashores. Pigeon Forge provided us with stuffed black bears, toy drums and erasers that smelled like school boxes. Holidays came with a script: where, what time, food brought and brought by whom. Grilled cheese sandwiches at Cracker Barrel, off the beaten path herb gardens, old quilts, crab shacks, hurricane lamps, and dried flowers smuggled in from Canada under dirty clothes. These things and more – rocking chairs, inflatable pool toys, moon pies, afternoons crafting, the wooden biscuit bowl – pull me back to the past and root me back home.
Tell me: What ROOTS you? What GROUNDS you?