cafe mama

a domestic realist blog

rooted and rootless . 28 June 2016

lichens and mosses on tree trunk

Lichens and mosses don't root themselves like trees and plants; they attach to a substrate, like rock or branches. Some lichens reproduce sexually, and others reproduce by splitting themselves apart. One of the chief methods of spreading is by attaching to a tree branch that, once it falls, is carried off by water, wind, or birds...

When we think of rooting we often feel the need for stasis, for remaining in one place. The very term "rooted" is so fraught with cultural and social expectations; moving around is seen as wild, a bad credit risk. We hope our children will go off into the world... but then find a place to put down roots. We attach ourselves to our immovable structures, marriages and careers and houses. We see this rootedness as the ultimate goal, a life's work. That's what I saw too; that's what I found for myself. But I was deeply unhappy.

I didn't do it all on my own, but it happened. I was ripped from my soil and left rootless. I broke from the home I thought kept me nourished. I discovered that dividing, breaking, being carried off by the ospreys and winds -- this was joy. In my lost attachments, there was still a sense of belonging somewhere. Belonging where I am, attached to whatever substrate I find myself upon at the moment. Being in the wind can feel chaotic and terrifying; or it can feel like you are flying into a place where magic is real and the goddesses themselves greet you with open arms and wings.

No structure is immovable. No system to which we attach ourselves is completely safe. The more we can let go, the farther it's possible to fly.

Say this and be ready to be swept away in a hurricane. Say this and be ready to be torn apart in the wind. Say this and know that you are not meant to live even in the illusion of lush, nourishing soil. Say this and open your hands and close your eyes and be ready to be torn off no matter how hard you try to hold.

But say it. But open your mouth and gulp whatever wind comes, drink the bitter along with the sweet, hope like hell there's a substrate meant for you somewhere, let go your house and your hoped-for financial security, say to yourself, "let go," and be willing to ride whatever the wind is that's your fate.

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read my previous post .

divorce, a story of death and life . 16 May 2016