As I wait to take my middle daughter to school (late start for her as she prepares to board a bus to compete in State debate meet), I realize that the heft of snow is one of many things that has left me feeling rootless today.
First, I’m not sure how one feels rooted when the ground, itself, has risen by at least one and sometimes many more feet. It’s an optical thing, I’m sure, but when the ground is not visible and when that which you walk on gives way, there is a tugging at the soul that says “no, this is not it, keep going until you reach something solid.”
Second, I have been “away” from work too long. Yikes! Did I really say that? I didn’t realize how grounded my work makes me–it gives me purpose and meaning in a life that too often bounces from one thing to another. And, while I still bounce from one thing to another at work, they seem like pieces of a connected whole–casting a net that keeps me close to that which is solid.
I never felt good about leaving work for vacation when everyone else was working so hard–and at a time when I could have spared more time to talk with the people I hardly ever see. It’s hard to say, though, that I felt bad about going here:
Rootless, still, though, as I morphed between beach bum and corporate wife and shameless, pink-tinged tourist. Resort life is not real life, as evidenced by my husband’s insistence on me getting a massage as well as the pedicure I dreamed of–and oh, was it a pedicure–emphasis on “cure.”
The rootlessness continued as I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy while sipping a non-umbrella-ed drink by the pool (on Kindle for iPhone, no less). The book is the fictionalized history of four of her fore-mothers and their lives as slaves and freewomen. The reserach and history are real; but she had to make up dialogue and some of the plot points, I’m sure. It is a history of slavery and of the legacy of not just the condition of slavery, but of the mindset of those held captive. In this instance, it is a legacy of strength and endurance. And as I sat around that pool, surrounded by other pink-skinned sun-bathers and having my needs met by a mostly-native population, well, this rootlessness took another turn.
Returning to my homestead should have eased my physical and psychic restlessness, but it did not. Storm prep; plane changes for my mother, my mother’s own rootless story (which she is now trying to write down and is sharing with me in bits and pieces); the storm itself and the inability to return to a “norm” has me twisting and tossing about like a wet rag in the dryer.
But this morning, I think I grabbed hold of the heart of it–the piece I hadn’t paid tribute to in all the fuss and mess of the last few weeks. I haven’t been to church in weeks. I haven’t paid attention to my church duties until a few flurried emails this a.m., nor have I simply given thought to that which has rooted me for over a decade. The songs, the quiet, the affirmation of faith and doxology, and those kids who aren’t mine who will always be a piece of me. The overt reminder of my connection to all: to the Egyptians (on both sides); to the Hawaiian people who welcome us all to their islands; to the women who survived slavery and those who did not; to the kids in my house who ask questions like “is the U.S. going to intervene in Egypt?” and the kids who can’t sit still in the pews. The reminders are under the surface and are what create that edgy unknowing that makes my skin and soul prickle; but it is in church when I take the time to put the pieces together and gain an understanding of what, of why, of how, and of what next.
I didn’t expect this; and if this one more day of not going back to routine allowed me this moment to reflect and understand the prickliness, then, for this I am grateful.