Root Words

Well I just can't imagine a single one of us who didn't like this day.  Fresh air dotted with Bradford Pear blossoms, outlined in yellow forsythia stripes, and underscored with stout green grass.  Oh yeah, and wrapped in a blue sky head scarf!!

What are you going to do with me? Radnor has set me writing again.  Radnor oh Radnor... your refrain never tires me, your melody never makes me crazy-mad like that "It's a small world" dither.

This time it's roots that have my attention.  Not the kind I colored with chemicals Saturday, staining both my gray and my ears.  No, this time it's the tree roots that make me look for tight little sentences and rhythmically syllabic adjectives.

In the fading winter nakedness, the woods have started covering themselves again.  But before they are fully clothed, I have taken inventory of the felled trees exposed by the season.  So many of the grand dames of the lake path have simply swooned to the forest floor, taking their rest beneath Maples and fast growing Tulip Poplars, and slower, older Chinquepin Oaks. They have surrendered to time, weather, sickness, or perhaps just the growing crowd under the skin of soil. For one reason or another, the old ladies have opened their fingers, loosening their grip on the soil, and turned up their skirts to the wind.

The adolescent trees stand near the sleeping beauties, wisely making their own root paths near the well plowed furrows. The older lead the younger, showing their own form of sculptural beauty, in the shadow of the long legs and arms of tall new trees. 

The upturned roots, a mass of tangle and turn, trace a life of surprises, unexpected changes, tenacity, and adaptability, while the trunks have testified of strength, unyielding, bearing up under the elements with great confidence, regardless of what ran beneath the surface in the dark. The roots have lyrically chronicled the necessary messiness, the trunks have recited order and single mindedness.  

And so I consider what I’m planted in, and where my roots have curled and adapted.  How tenacious and searching am I in the hidden interiors of my life? Am I strong, ordered, committed?  Does my visible strength allow for the often less visible narrative of my mistakes and course corrections?  Am I striking a well marked path for the younger who come behind me? When I lay down, will my legacy draw curious inquiry?

You can’t have traveled a life of faith very long and not visited the Psalms at some point.  My paraphrase here of Psalm 1:

“Blessed is she whose delight is in the Word of God; she will be like a tree planted by good things, rooted and grounded in Christ, productive, and flourishing, watched over by the Lord in all her days.”

And one day, she will turn her skirts to the wind, and show her roots, to the glory of God.