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Roots



I've always had great reverence for roots. Of trees, plants and fungi alike, there is so much to learn about what lies below based on what we see above.


Nature has a way of showing us how to build sustainably; how to craft something to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, we as humans have become so largely disconnected from nature Our Teacher that many of the things built over the more recent past don't survive the strain of modern day life. This pertains to bricks and mortar as much as human relationships; both the demolishing of buildings and divorce and suicide rate are at an all time high.


But look to an oak tree, and you might visually inhale hundreds of years of relationships, all in the blink of an eye.


Last month, my neighbour, landlord and friend very recently lost his wife to cancer. She reached the ripe age of 80, but her death was sudden and was heartbreaking for her surviving husband. They'd lived together for over 50 years, 40 of those years in the same house. She was a collector of objects, and while her own physical body will be passed on only to worms and decay, the myriad of glassware, shells, books and boxes heaving with artifacts of travel and memories carry her imprint. These, like so many family's memorabalia, will end up in auction houses and second hand shops, ready to pass into other hands bearing a new life.


While the material items will steal off into the night, it's the roots of the family that remain strong. They come in the form of sons, daughters, grandchildren and in-laws that have showed up as support, physical refuge and helping hands during a time of deep sorrow and grief.


Recently, I have returned with more frequency to London, and while up until now, every trip during the pandemic was out of necessity, lately I have been there re-estabishing connections. It has dawned on me, how little aware I was of roots while I lived in the metropolis. It's not that relationships didn't matter, I merely saw them in a different way. Many of them were unconscious; a happy accident or at the mercy of circumstance. With small exception, I often didn't have the time, or didn't make the time to cultivate depth and substance. I'm grateful for the tethers that remain, and more so for the learning that has me considering 'good company' from a more dimensional lens.


Beyond loving carrots or having a passion for parsnips, perhaps 'reverence for roots' is something that requires time and age to appreciate. On this last trip back to the United States, I surely saw my parents in a softer, more loving light. After two years, it was a gift to feel the veil of a dysfunctional childhood lift, giving way to family who, despite our differences, truly love one another. I was thirsty for stories of their childhood and what they remembered of their parents' childhood. I was seeking the aged nectar of understanding the long, roots of life.

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