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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Roots...



I have mulling over the topic of roots of late....


I'll beg indulgence for what I expect will be a rambling post, I'm exhausted, things are a little nutty, it's time for me to reign some things in.....


But in the meantime, back to roots.


When we left San Diego, we uprooted ourselves and our lives, and to some extent probably disturbed the soil around the lives of our friends and family. I did this not lightly, but without a true sense of what it all really meant. That meaning has become more full for me over time, has triggered a time of grieving all over again for what I truly left, and for awhile I had an intense reticence to establish new roots.


And, as always, I wonder what it all means. What does it mean to establish roots somewhere? How much energy should one (I) put into to growing roots in a location that is somewhat temporary? If I do commit to what's temporary and begin putting out roots, will I bloom, only to wither more intensely when it's time to uproot once again? Is it really possible to be firmly rooted in such seemly uncertain, tumultuous, transient times? Or, in a larger sense, is it all really temporary anyway? Can spending to much time thinking of such things drive one a bit crazy? Probably!


When we moved from my parents home where we resided (but never felt rooted to) here in NY for 5 years, I felt intense conflict. I loved and still love our sweet rental home, this gracious, old, somewhat unloved but still lovely old half of a house, called The Willows by the 19th century owner who planted the now enormous willow trees that grace our front yard. I loved setting up my own space again, but wanted to be there already, set up and settled, that is. I love the yard here. I have a love/hate relationship with the village of Spencer. Love the sweet smallness of it, love things like knowing everyone at the liberary and post office by name, that some of the people in this town have known my daughter since birth or even before. Hate sometimes the smallness too, the lack of activities in the winter, the distance from anything to do, the distance from a grocery store with a selection, the small rural town-ness of it.
And there I was(still am), and for the first 6 months or so I avoided putting down any sort of roots. I wasn't sure I wanted even stay in the state of NY, let alone commit, even on a short term basis, to little Spencer.
But after a time, when the dust settled, and I began to ponder this question, I decided I would be doing myself and my family a disservice by holding back. I don't know how long we'll be here...when the time will be right to purchase our own home. Oh, how I long to own my own home again, to make choices from a more permanent place, to invest time and energy and know that (can I really know, though?) that I will continue to reap the benefits of that investment for as long as I wish.
But I digress. We live in the house, our rent is SO low, that we decided that some improvements would be well worth it for the benefits we would reap, and that whoever comes next will hopefully appreciate these things too. I decided that I didn't want to experience another spring without have my own tulips come up in the yard, so last fall I planted some, and they were glorious. I've made friends...with some of the local families, parent's with children Helena's age, some of my older neighbors. I even have a neighbor who comes from Ocean Beach. We love to talk about places back in San Diego over a beer! And people are starting to become dear to me...yikes!
Which brings us back to roots.
Shortly before leaving San Diego we had a large yard sale. Over that weekend we met most of our neighbors on our block, most of whom I'd barely seen, let alone met. I remember thinking, wow! What a lot of lovely people, just a stone's throw away, and I never knew, never had the time to find out until now, as we're leaving.....
Last evening Helena, Patrick and I were sitting on a blanket in the backyard, enjoying the first, glorious, sunny, warm evening in more than a week, when around the corner came Illie (probably not spelled correctly), our next door neighbor. I'm not sure how old Illie is, I would about 75, but I don't know her well yet, would like to know her better. She had, in the package pictured above, some Dahlia bulbs for me. When Helena and I had stopped to chat a few weeks ago she mentioned she wished she had some left for me. Illie has a beautiful front yard, one we admire regularly when we pass. She had given me some cuttings of a shrub, I don't know what it's called, but if they take (some seem to be), I'll take a photo and post it.
So it occured to me last night, as I walked Illie back around to the front to show her the shrubs I planted, that now I have friends, neighbors, and perennial plants....I guess I have roots here, for now.