My roots keep reaching deep and wide to find native soil, for the Earthly place where I am bound in an unmistakable way to something unshakable, a place of Home. Home not as a house or ownership of property or a lease. Home as relationships, home as togetherness between human and other-than-human kin. A place of permanence, not in the way of domination and control, but of knowing. Where the Deer and Land and Trees and Humans have all found familiarity in each other, and an ease grows.
Much of the time, humans are lucky to find this even with other humans. Most have forgotten to even consider kinship with Place, with Land, with Ancestors. Our roots have long since been clipped, and we roam about the Earth untethered, lost like ghosts, hungry for home and belonging but unaware of it. We have forgotten what it means to be rooted in place. We hardly even know what it means to be well planted. We are instead haphazardly dumped in the soil, and often uprooted again and again through our lifetimes, and over generations. We don’t remember what it was once like to be people emerging into life as native plants do, emerging from fertile soil, the land of Ancestors, with a bone deep familiarity and knowing that we belong to the land and each other, unquestioned. What an incredible thing to imagine!
I once dug up a native honeysuckle vine from the land near my parents’ house. One of my favorite deliciously fragrant plants! I had the vision of planting it at my house, that it would follow in the way of honeysuckles everywhere, and take over. Invasive, they say. I could imagine it growing out of control over the unsightly guard rail that lined my below-street-level garden and sidewalk. And so, I took it home in a pot of soil, and planted it with delight. I watered it daily and waited for it to go wild. Imagine my surprise when it withered and died! I’d never heard of a honeysuckle vine dying, not even when people ripped it up out of the ground, considering it a pest. It kept growing and returning and thriving.
Clearly roots are very clear about what allows them to thrive and what does not. What is resilient and vigorous in the right place, the right soil, the right conditions… it withers and cannot thrive where those conditions are not met. We, too, have the same needs, and when those needs are not met we also wither. It is no wonder we have such sickness in mind, body, and soul in our world today. Torn apart by colonization and capitalism, we have severed our connection to the nourishment of Land, Community, Ancestors, Place, Life. We are untethered, rootless, sick, and lost.