Storms make trees take deeper roots

This post is part of ROOTS – a series that originates on BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo – see what others are posting on the topic.

Roots: they are the stories that ground you, the food that returns you, the music that comforts you, and the people who know you. Everyone has roots that influence them, even if they don’t consciously know them or can’t access them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013:

Dolly Parton said: “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” Agree or disagree?

It may be true for the trees that are still standing after a storm. I do not know. I do understand this is meant to be figurative, not literal. I suppose that to go deeper, it takes some care of the ground, and nature should certainly be able to know better.

After Hurricane Sandy rainbow
Rainbow captured after Hurricane Sandy in Westchester – ©The Julliard Journal – Nancy Allen

Unfortunately, man has a terrible habit of going against nature, building where it is not supposed to be built, and destroy some natural elements that would contribute to let nature follow this rule of growth and lesson for the better.

I am witnessing storms in and storms out, and I am not entirely optimistic that it is teaching the proper way always. I see the majority go to hasty conclusions too often, rather than working on consolidating the roots, by going back to them and making sure they are grounded and nourished the proper way.

It takes time to prepare for a storm, and that is what makes a deeper grounding of the roots. But the rat race is still on for many of us, and the time to be prepared is not taken. Dealing with crisis all the time is not the proper way to acknowledge that storms happen: they seem to hit where the trees have not grown yet, and where the volatile is the rule of the land.  I would like to be wrong and less cynical. I would like to believe that Dolly Parton is right, and I would love to agree with her. It is a very soothing and inspiring thought. Because it is beautiful, it does not really need to be true. It matters that it brings a good feel to the story.

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Roots of responsibility and wings of independence

This post is part of ROOTS – a series that originates on BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo – see what others are posting on the topic.

Roots: they are the stories that ground you, the food that returns you, the music that comforts you, and the people who know you. Everyone has roots that influence them, even if they don’t consciously know them or can’t access them.

Monday, June 17, 2013:

The original quote about giving children roots and wings referred to the “roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” Does that change your understanding of the quote?

So, I have been looking at this week’s prompts, and they feel like work in school and I have little remembrance on how easy or difficult I was finding the exercise.

I suddenly feel very old and unable to write essays on literature, and the quote seems to be from a particular author (why is he or she not credited?) that I have no idea of, and of course, I had never heard the quote myself, so what do you expect? It is not changing my understanding from any prior understanding!

A+ Rubber Stamp on Notebook Paper
Photo Credit 1000awesomethings.com

The wings of independence: flying on your own. It is a powerful dream. Teenagers are eager to reach that moment. My youngest son is leaving in less than two weeks now, and will be flying on his own – with peers and chaperones, for safety of my mind – into unknown territories. Going to place I have never gone, experiencing new adventures, and growing responsible. We have talked about it at length, and I brought up several of my expectations that he would be respectful and responsible young man, making right choices and remembering that there are always the easy and the right way and that they are not the same.

Have I given him a seed that grew roots strong enough? Only the future will now tell me. I tried to remember my own teenage years and how lost I felt often, especially looking at what I did in hindsight. I can’t remember anything that I am proud of today even if most of the memories I have are extremely vivid and like strong foundations in my life. I just feel I made a lot of wrong choices, even though I can’t revisit those choices and imagine the “what if”s. I desperately wanted to be independent and I did not fly safely. At the time, I did not have any root to feel grounded: I returned to them much later in my life.

 

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The importance of knowing one’s roots

This post is part of ROOTS – a series that originates on BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo – see what others are posting on the topic.

Roots: they are the stories that ground you, the food that returns you, the music that comforts you, and the people who know you. Everyone has roots that influence them, even if they don’t consciously know them or can’t access them.

Thursday, June 13, 2013:

How important do you believe it is for a person to know their roots?

I am sure that when you know your roots, you feel a sense of identity that gives you strength to go through life, which is never an easy thing. It helps feeling grounded, having a feeling of meaning. However, thinking of those who have very little way to find their roots – because they have been adopted for instance – and also thinking of those who might discover that they were born of a rape, this might be troubling to go back to these stories.

Roots - Systems by Aaron Springer
©Courtesy of Flickr – Aaron Springer

How important do I believe it is for a person to know their roots? I am not sure I believe it is important.

It is a personal inclination to see interest in such a search and knowledge. I believe it is important to take care of oneself, I believe it is important to know and follow rules to live in harmony and ethically with others, but apart from these things I believe are important, I am not sure I would rate knowing one’s roots as truly important: I don’t believe that you are unbalanced even if you don’t know your roots. The roots are certainly part of who you are, but if you choose not to know them, I don’t believe it makes you less or more of a kind. I believe this is part of an introspective quest, or search, or curiosity. It certainly would bring you lots of great insight, knowing your roots, and if you integrate this insight properly, it certainly can help you grow some personal assets, but I believe it is really like being interested in a subject matter, and not everyone is curious about this, and they still live very well without it!

 

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How does going back to one’s roots feel like

This post is part of ROOTS – a series that originates on BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo – see what others are posting on the topic.

Roots: they are the stories that ground you, the food that returns you, the music that comforts you, and the people who know you. Everyone has roots that influence them, even if they don’t consciously know them or can’t access them.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013:

What does getting back to your roots look like to you?

Going back to my roots is a way to  honor those who have come before me and basically made it possible for me to be who I am.

It looks like a pilgrimage sometimes, an arduous road with rocks that climbs to the unknown, made of strange emotions,  a mix of sadness for what is not anymore and a pride that can overwhelm the sadness and make me feel so alive, so thankful, grateful and inspired.

cimetiere-colleville
View of some rows of graves overseeing the beach of landing at the American Cemetery of Colleville sur Mer

I have experienced this three summers ago, when I had planned to visit my family back in France, and my brother invited the three of us for a week’s vacation in Normandy, with the goal of having the three cousins bond around their common roots, the American boys and the French one visiting the Normandy beaches of landing, and learn about their common history with the heroic and often tragic demise of the British and American troops who fought the German army on these beaches in 1944.

We had rented a cottage near Sainte-Mère-l’Eglise, and toured all the beaches each day, the museums and all the memorials that are on the roads at nearly each corner of the villages on the coast for miles and miles. History was alive under our feet. We went to the American cemetary in Colleville-sur-Mer and had the most moving experience, when my two boys, aged 13 and 15 silently stood, their baseball cup placed against their heart, in this so typically American posture of respect, that does not belong to the French culture at all, and I got the chills. With nearly 10,000 graves marked by white crosses, some of them adorned of a Star of David, the sight is chilling and solemn, the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded is palpable. My son started to notice names of brothers, cut short in their lives in their twenties and our imagination could only venture at the surface of the pain that must have been endured.

Feeling how the sacrifice of those young men and women had allowed them to come to this world – had France not been liberated, it is very unlikely that their grand-father had met their grand-mother, given birth to their mother, and therefore they would not have existed… as simple as that.

Last summer, I took my youngest to the Memorial of the Shoah in Paris, and this time we said kaddish for my grandmother. We walked in the streets of Paris, in Le Marais, where I told him some of the stories of the area, that resonate so much for me. Less for him. It felt more like being a tourist in a city where the roots were not so obvious for him. Nevertheless, he chose to go on with going back to his roots and will travel to Europe and Israel this summer. I feel like I have passed the right heritage to him.

I may sometimes – pretty often in fact – feel like a fragile tree barren of its leaf in the wind, not knowing very well, if I will hold or fall and wondering if my limbs will weather the storms and the harsh winters, and then I remember that deep in the ground there are those multiple, often complicate roots, that hold steady and fast. I feel that if the ground is taken good care of, tended to properly, these roots will help my body and my entire being to strive, grow and multiply in a healthy way. It gives me strength and hope for the future. This is how getting back to my roots feels like to me.

 

See some of my other posts of the series:

Influencing culture

Family traditions

A family history