Can Humans Grow Roots?

Cape Atlantic Dune Grass, Meliorisms


noun, often attributive

1a: the usually underground part of a seed plant body…

A few months ago, my apartment was packed for another move. Hopefully the last in a long time.

Whatever “long time” means…

Moving is hard work, but it’s also exciting. It’s taken me 3 years to decide to make my adventure in the city permanent.

I grew up in the suburbs. Well, really I grew up all over the place. My Dad worked as a plant specialist for the government and every time he moved up the government scale, we moved across the country.

Our family never really planted roots.

It never occurred to me moving wasn’t a normal family activity until my early 40’s when an acquaintance mentioned how hard it must have been to move every few years. I remember looking at her quizzically. Moving was our way of life. It was my normal, so no, it wasn’t hard. My mom did most the work anyway.

My Dad worked on a team that is responsible for Cape American Beach Grass, the grass you see growing on the dunes on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

This grass was planted along the coastline because it has deep roots and helps stop erosion of our dune system, a system of constantly moving sand that when left to its own devices, or the devices of men and construction, would change the terrain and roots of our towns, homes and familial landscapes.

In one sense, my Dad’s life was spent planting roots.

In another sense, the life of our family was spent digging up those roots and replanting them every time we moved.

Roots are what trees and plants need to grow deep into the soil, collecting nutrients and water so they can grow. Creating a strong foundation to keep them from falling over or blowing down.

Humans also need roots to be emotionally and physically planted in life. These invisible roots create a connection to the human experience and grounding into who we are.

When we humans aren’t grounded, we are lost – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Just like plants, only metaphorically we fall over. We only stay upright to give the illusion we have our emotional/spiritual acts together.

But humans can adapt. When trees lose their root system they die. When our roots are disturbed by life, either our own making, or interference from something we can’t control, we can find another way to plant new roots. Trees don’t get that option.

Without that grounding, we are like leaves, being blown around by a leaf blower. Never knowing where we might land. We feel disjointed, stuck in our homes without connection to others. We feel lost, or just off, like we took the “wrong” path and don’t know how to get back on the right one.

Sometimes we don’t even know we are lost because physically we know exactly where we are.

My life was filled with up-rooting and re-rooting our family. I found my roots in the relationships I built with family and friends. My roots weren’t in the homes where I lived, but in the memories and stories my family and friends created as my journey through life moved forward.

So what roots you? Your family, your job, friends, where you live, your pets, hobbies? One of these? None of these? All of these?

If you don’t feel rooted, why not? What can you change in yourself to help you find your roots?

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