Riding around on the tractor this past weekend, going slow to admire the changes at my Walden after we had some of it rid of much undergrowth that was suffocating and choking off the land’s potential, I noted that many of the scrubby plants that had been chopped down substantially by a large mulching machine were now sprouting leaves. I smiled. “As long as there are roots in the ground, there is life,” I thought to myself. So true.
We have many roots in the ground. As long as we keep them, we have another chance of life and living. Life naturally does not want to be denied.
What is our tap root? In plants, it is the straightest root that grows down vertically and from which all our other roots ultimately come. It provides the resources to gather nutrition (through the other roots) and great stability. Is your tap root your faith, your sense of purpose, your family…what is your tap root? Protect it and keep it in the ground for nourishment and stability.
Despite the scrub – yaupon, greenbrier and more – being ravaged by the machine as part of the clearing process to strengthen the pines, oaks and others, most are sprouting. Life does that to us, too – ravages us, in ways large and small. We get beat up and torn down. But the life within us continues, allowing another chance to sprout our own new leaves, they being indicators of the life within. The leaves, too, then get nourishment and help sustain life.
I stopped the tractor and gazed at one particular yaupon stalk. Ragged at the top and only now about a foot tall, leaves were coming out of its side, gathering light and processing carbon dioxide: living and sustaining. The tractor idled and I looked deeper into the space and a magnificent oak showcased its leaves on long, thick boughs. Except where it couldn’t. It, too, has been ravaged, apparently for many years. I do not know the cause of the damage to branches and trunk, but it looks like a combination of lightning, pests, and who knows what else. Yet, two-thirds of its branches sustain it. Its roots are in the ground.
The land is full of reminders of the potential for survivability and flourishing if roots are kept solid and intact. The offshoot roots bring various forms of nutrition to the plants they serve, and I ponder that, too, while easing further along the road. Relationships, creative outlets, entertainment, education and learning, exercise…all these things that naturally come from our tap root provide us more sustenance, more stability and more life. I consider how many times people create what they think are roots, but they don’t come from their tap root. They create processes or a lifestyle that they think will provide them what they need for living, but they are detached from the tap root, and ultimately fail. These “solutions” are not of themselves, and that’s a problem.
I nodded to myself. “Where there are roots, there is life.” I then continued my drive, feeding my roots.
(c) Dion McInnis 2016