Between my daughter’s wedding and my great-aunt’s memorial service, I’ve spent a lot of time with relatives and close friends lately. That’s got me thinking about roots.
People’s roots usually have to do with their heritage and their families. I have plenty of those kinds of roots. My dad’s Virginia family goes back to 1607, and they take their history very seriously. My mother’s hometown is in Ohio, and my family there has a shorter history in the U.S. but tight connections as well. When I was growing up, my parents and sisters and I spent most of our time on military posts, so we didn’t see extended family on a day-to-day basis but for a few exceptions. We kept our ties to our parents’ families through correspondence and occasional visits. I had opportunity to see some of them recently, and the time apart didn’t seem important; we were all family just the same. Plus, I am lucky enough to have my husband, daughter, son-in-law, dad, sister and two nephews nearby. We get to see each other fairly often. I am thankful to have family roots in my life.
Alaskans often have strong roots with friends to make up for the lack of close family members. We make our own family with kindred spirits. I have the privilege of having several good friends here, some of whom have known me for decades. There’s a comfort in talking with someone you first met when you were teenagers; you don’t have to explain everything because you know each other so well. I have some older friends who I’ve adopted as my elders too. Of course I can’t imagine life without my writing friends. I am blessed with my friends, and they’re part of my roots.
And of course, I have roots in the place I live. The mountains and inlet are my anchors; I find inspiration in the scenic views. The birds and animals are part of my life too. When I see a raven fly by or croak at me from a nearby lightpost, I usually say hello. Alaska’s history is my heritage too. I feel connected to this place every day. While I enjoy visiting other locations, I can’t imagine leaving Alaska for very long. I’m always glad to come home to my roots here.
Sometimes roots are physical, sometimes mental or emotional. But all of us can put down roots wherever we are. They anchor us to the earth, give us the strength to grow, and help us achieve our dreams. I am grateful to have roots in family, friends, and the beautiful place I live. I hope you’ve found roots too.