Friday, March 26, 2010
Tethering the Roots
I traveled to a city where I spent some time as a child. I saw the houses, walked the streets and steeped myself in nostalgia, got it out of my system. Went back to my roots…. Are my roots there? Really I think my roots are here in this life, not the one I lived in the past. I see photographs and hear stories from my old city and I remember the coziness. I walk into a room and hear the conversations just as I left them, the tones, the inflections, smell the bacon, touch the carpet. Sometimes I’d like it all back and wonder why I left in the first place. What was it that didn’t hold me there so long ago?
Those old familiar streets are walked by other children now who dream like I did years ago. Those houses have other families, someone else’s eggs in the frying pan. We must carry our roots with us. We are transient beings. Is this the lesson of the Feast of Booths? Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and God commanded the feast of booths, each family dwelling in their own tent, making meals, living together. Transient dwellings for transient people. The lesson defined: Egypt, the past, is not your home, nor is the ground you pitch your tent on. Houses don’t have roots, nor do tents. Roots may be completely unbiblical, which would explain a lot.
How quickly we say someone is looking for their roots when they go home. But isn’t home where you are? If it’s not, are we all living in hotels? You may have had a home elsewhere but now your home is here. So this thing called roots might be an illusion, a guise to keep us tied to what might have been if we stayed where we were. No one can offer us the past and only one can offer us the future. Perhaps that is where my roots really are, not in my old city nor in this present one, but in eternity where it will really matter. So instead of anchoring my tent to the dirt beneath my feet, I need to anchor it to the ground above, where it has a better grab. Yes, I think that’s it, we are not trees after all and the universe is more reliable than we think.
photo credit: Erica McGrath