Gifts of root and wing

Exposed roots

I’m sitting in this little house in the woods month after everlasting month growing fat sturdy roots into the earth.  Down, down, down, go my roots.  Past the fading couch, past the basement with its wood stove, past the clay and sand, past pebbles and rocks and boulders, down, down, down, go these roots.

Growing roots into this land we call home.  Growing roots that keep our secrets here.  Growing roots that whisper:  you are mine now, you earthling, you are finally mine.

Bald eagle missing one white tail feather (Don't quit breathing deeply--another one will grow back!)

I’ve grown wings before, haven’t you?  Wings that flew me from this place to that.  Wings that jetted across the curved globe.  Wings that delivered me on the doorstep of precious sons and daughters and mothers and fathers.

I have so loved these wings, loved feathers propelling into new horizons, new seas, new forests, new meadows.  Haven’t you loved your wings motoring you across state lines?  Sweeping left and right wings together we’ve flown high and low, hither and yon, oh precious visiting and seeing and proclaiming.

White eagle feather

But for every season under heaven Life blinks and changes and now I’m growing roots, sturdy wide wood roots, tethering me in place, teaching me of the values of dirt, stone, property, here, now.

The bird in us might think that roots bind and jail and threaten and tether.  The bird in us might weep at nest’s seeming confine.  The bird in us longs to clamor into sky and sweep high across infinite terrain toward that which sings newness and freshness and endless open palm.  The bird calls the root “boredom” and sings freedom, freedom, freedom without seeing the gifts beneath what stops, what stays, what creeps like a turtle so very slowly.



Yet the tree within us roots down, down, down, doesn’t it?  Lest we forget the mother that feeds us.  Lest we forget the earth that clothes us.  Lest we forget the worms and slugs and snails that populate grasses beneath our bare feet.

Every two to four months I’ve traveled to touch the faces of you and you and you.  But now almost nine months pass on this couch, in this house in the woods, growing roots down into this Upper Peninsula earth.  Almost time to birth a baby.  A baby with sturdy legs to toddle through endless trees, to deeply learn the lessons of grass, wildflower, snake, stone.

Exposed roots

The body relaxes so deliciously–in ways wings can’t ever understand–resting on the soil of this precious place, this precious immediacy, this precious here.

I try to heed the lessons of root as I sink even deeper down.   May you, too, find the sacred gift root brings as it whispers home, home, you’re finally home.

Roots dangle over cliff

And–dear one–the wings wait ready until it’s time to fly again.  Never fear, the wings await your feathered flight up, up and away into the endless infinite blue sky.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in July, 2020 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Gifts of root and wing

  1. sherrysescape says:

    I love the comfort of your poetic words.

  2. Ally Bean says:

    Lovely thoughts and oh so true. There is a quiet joy in acknowledging both the roots and wings in one’s life.

  3. Your root photos! Some beings have the most fascinating roots. I’m often amazed at how deep and wide into the soil they go when I see a tree uprooted after a hurricane. For some reason your words made me think of years ago when I used to grow roots in water from houseplant stem cuttings. It seemed to me the roots were stretching in hopes of finding some good soil. When I finally put them in a pot of soil I imagined them establishing a home.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, it can be so hard to photograph roots. Have you had much success? Half the time they just don’t look anything like they do in actuality. Thank you for sharing your stem cutting story and how your houseplants established a home.

      • Kathy, an old post showcases some pictures of roots taken with my old camera. I agree, it’s hard to capture the way they look to the naked eye. Funny thing, the one taken in New London I tried to find again, unsuccessfully, to capture with the new camera.

        • Kathy says:

          How nice to stop by this old post of yours and wander among your own roots. (Hmmm, so many meanings in a phrase like that…especially since you’ve been wandering in so many ancestral roots recently.) Sounds like you agree with the difficulty in photographing them. But you did a very nice job.

  4. Larissa says:

    home ❤

  5. monicadevine says:

    Beautiful, Kathy! I’ve often thought of roots, and how a person could fall in love with 2 landscapes simultaneously. Is it possible to feel like you are “home” in 2 disparate places? Yes! Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Monica. I appreciate your compliment so much, as you seem like a person so rooted in the landscape of your Alaska home. And, yes, I do believe we can fall in love with two places simultaneously. My body remembers the smell of soil in the Thumb of Michigan, and the waves and foghorns on Lake Huron. That is a very deep taproot. It has taken longer for me to root here in the Upper Peninsula, but every day the root stretches down deeper.

  6. jeffstroud says:

    Let’s get to the root of all of this! Shall we? Truly I have been considering uprooting myself once again. It might be the seven year itch or the fact like you and many of us stuck at home, more or less, almost abandoned by family and friends…
    The root of this is grounding, walking on the ground, being in nature, even that has become difficult to accomplish of late, yet it is only a few yards from my door on the ground floor…
    The root of all of this is that we humans can uproot or transplant ourselves elsewhere to new environments…
    Now that I am rooted in this comment I’m not sure how to get out…

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, with so many of us stuck at home–rootedness may be the last thing we want to feel. I notice my mind and thoughts want to fly with the birds, but the body and nervous system like the deep rest. Has it been hard for you to go outside in nature because of your surgery and health? Or does it just feel difficult to get motivated? For the past two days I have tried to walk outside and it hasn’t been happening. I get to the mailbox and turn around and head back inside. Where might you want to root yourself if you move? Thanks for commenting and sharing yourself here. xoxo

  7. Stacy says:

    Every two to four months, you spread your wings. But don’t you find comfort in the roots of home? I never like to fly for too long the way some people do. Do you? XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Stacy, I do find comfort in the roots of home. There is something special about spreading wings and flying away…and something equally precious about staying at home. What’s been interesting during these COVID months is that I have discovered that I don’t NEED to fly away. That my roots here are sustaining in a way that I never dreamed possible. Guess that’s what I’m trying to express here…

  8. Roots which are very much needed when you stop and think about it. It seems that everything has an origin of a root. Very interesting post.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, I am glad you liked it! I have had trouble thinking about roots sometimes before, so this post provided lots of introspection for me, too. Hope you have a nice weekend.

  9. Reggie says:

    This was so poetic… I could really sense what you mean. We have an old tree in our yard, which we have been watching as it grows and spreads every year… until, every few years, we decide it needs a ‘haircut’ because the branches have become too heavy and thump against the roof in the wind, and we cannot afford cracked roof tiles (they are old and replacements are impossible to find) and split gutters (they are tricky to replace and re-align). I wonder sometimes what would happen if we never pruned it again… where would those big old roots tunnel through… would they break through the foundations, poke up into the pool, crack the underground pipes, embrace the house? 20 years from now, 50 years, 100 years… would our house still stand? Would our successors have chopped down the old tree? It feels like we small humans are here but for a blink of the eye, in the lifetimes of trees.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Reggie, I know what you mean about the practicalities of roots and big trees. Especially when they grow too near our human inventions. Really relating to what you shared here. We have a huge spruce growing in the garden that messes up our vegetable harvest, shades too much or not enough, sends its massive roots everywhere. On the other hand, it’s beautiful and houses so many animals over the years. We can’t bear to cut it down. (And I suppose roots might reach out to to encroach a foundation, break pipes, take over the house. Sigh. The problems we humans have when we attempt to live with nature in a “good” way…)

  10. Joanne says:

    I’m one of those people you hear about whose life hasn’t changed all that much with the recently introduced confines of Covid. I’m glad you are finding peace in your home, Kathy.
    One phrase you wrote jumped out at me though “motoring you across state lines” … I live on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, yet in the past we have never consciously thought of crossing the state border as we go about our days. Now, the state border is closed. Oh, we can apply for a permit to enter Queensland because we live right on the border, but here’s the catch – the premier of Queensland closed the border because Queensland has ONE new case of Covid this week. There are currently 11 active case in the state, which is over 1.8 million square kilometres in size. Can you believe that?
    You are finding peace and contentment in your home through absolute necessity, in a country where Covid is rife. That’s a blessing, definitely not a burden. Stay safe. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      May have already addressed this with you, Joanne, but am glad to hear that your life has continued without too many disruptions during these Covid times. It does seem like one new Covid case is a little of an extreme action to close a border, but I sure would hate to be someone in authority making these decisions. I am thinking I might be more nervous and less content if living in an urban area with many cases. Perhaps am lulled into a sense of security because we live out in the woods…

  11. Beautiful pictures and words. Your post reminds me of a quote by choreographer Bella Lewitsky: “To move freely you must be deeply rooted.”

  12. Elisa says:

    Ohhh ahhhh….this So expresses for me, with the most accurate words, where i am waffling. Often in the home nesting root stage. just exactly what you said Oh look i used the word Nesting, birds DO nest. I didn’t do that on purpose. I have been, i dunno lazy maybe. Hadn’t logged in to even look at wordpress for a long while. My attention span seems to be, flitting from place to place. I am enjoying now, in the morning during Upon Awakening, Reading back thru what has been posted while I was not present. I like the feeling of joy and engaging, that I thought I had lost before. Starting out my day walking alongside others and sharing is wonderful.

    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, it is so nice to see you and hear a little bit of what is going on in your world. I like the image of nesting, it sounds peaceful and cozy. But the image of starting out your day walking alongside others feels nurturing and healthy, too. May we all have both–the nesting and the engaging.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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