When we moved to our home twenty-four years ago a large, mature tree provided shade from the late afternoon summer sun to the driveway side of our property. Only once since we've lived here have we had it pruned. Last fall we made the decision to have this tree removed. It pains me to say "cut down" because it was such a beautiful tree, at times. When we had to contend with the spring squiggly things that were pushed off onto the yard and in the shrubbery beds as the leaves came out, it wasn't so lovely. Or the many, many acorns that covered everything including the driveway where they were decimated into mush when we drove over them with the cars. And the tons and tons of leaves that had to be raked and discarded in the fall. But the main reason it had to go was the root system. Cracking the concrete driveway, pushing up one section of our sidewalk and damaging the curb at the street were only a few things that we could see.It was gut wrenching to see it come down. Our house and property seems naked, bare and lonely, but since we didn't want roots growing into our foundation, we had no choice. We had the stump ground twice, along with roots that were close to the surface. Needless to say we have a huge round circle that we are still working on. For some crazy reason writers get weird ideas, and most of the time it happens when I'm trying to fall asleep. Then my brain starts connecting the dots and I can't wait to put into words my thoughts that have kept me awake until two in the morning. The following is how I saw my connection to the tree.
People have roots too, and they all run deep. Some have lateral roots that run far and wide and some have stayed close to their beginning. If you've read any previous posts on this blog or have read either of my books you will know that my roots run deep in the state of Arkansas.That state is where my tap root is, deep in the soil of northeast Arkansas farming country and small town America. But like the tree in my front yard I have lateral roots that have spread far and wide. In the beginning my roots were close to the tap root where I was born in the house on Park St., behind the old courthouse in Lake City. Then lateral roots began to branch out to other houses in town where I lived until my first move to North Little Rock, which at the time felt as though I had moved to a foreign country. From there my tree grew more roots all the way to Pryor, Oklahoma which at the time was the longest distance from the tap root. Ah, but then on to Colonial Heights, Virginia, and for a brief five months my lateral roots stretched all the way to Colorado Springs, Colorado. My tap root serves the same purpose to me as the tap root did to the tree in my front yard. It anchors me. It's my beginning, it's where God gave me life and surrounded me with people who would pour into me. It's where He placed me in the Dunlap family with Harmon and Eula as my parents, and Bruce, Charles and Sarah Sue as my siblings. It's where He planted me, in that small town of Lake City where I went to school and church and was known. We knew everyone. It was small and safe and happy. Not only did we not lock our doors, we didn't even have a key. It was a safe place.
I've been gone for many years and most of the people who call that town home do not know me. And I don't know them. But there are still friends who live there and they know me. And my facebook is full of friends just like me. Their tap root runs deep in that place we all call our hometown, but lateral roots have taken them to many, many other places. These other places have formed us into the people we are today. But the childhood of our birthplace continually calls us back to meet up with schoolmates for a reunion or simply to drive up and down the streets and reminisce. Maybe it's like finding our original selves again. And for everyone who remains close to their birthplace, just think how deeply rooted you are.