When I'm sketching ideas on those graph paper pages, I feel more creative, and the ideas just flow!
Once a month I drive two hours to attend a writers' group I've been part of for ten years. Friends in the group ask me why I make the trip, and I reply that I've uprooted my entire life twice in the past decade, and I cherish longstanding relationships. I cheerfully drive a different two hours for lunch with various old friends in Ohio, any time I have the opportunity.
I've been uprooted a few times. My family moved from New Jersey to Arizona when I was in 7th grade. Then, one week before my senior year of high school (and with no advance notice) we moved back across the country. Really. Then I was part of a Christian group and lived in Kansas, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Omaha, Nebraska, in my twenties.
Where family is concerned, my roots are sparser than some people's. I'm divorced and remarried. I have two sons, one brother and his two sons, and that's it as far as blood relations go. (And fewer roots than my now-husband, whose father was one of fourteen children!)
All this uprooting accounts for my taste for antiques, heirlooms, old music and New Jersey woodland scenery. But no amount of tchotchkes and photographs can really make the soul feel at home. They make for a better environmental fit, and a comfy feeling, but real at-homeness is a function of deeper things. I think it's spiritual.
I'm thinking about this because my buddy Amy visited me in Indianapolis yesterday. We worked together, thirty-some-odd years ago, then formed a deeper friendship over some mutual interests and our sons' play-dates. We learned the ways of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together, and there's not many people I can say THAT about. In a crisis, Amy was at my elbow, discreetly and graciously. I'm including a picture of us (taken in the nifty Artifacts Gallery, in Indianapolis's Broad Ripple district.)
I'm also including a Scientific American cover from decades back. Different plants have different kinds of roots. Fascinating. And a doodle I did in a notebook last year. People rooted in the same thing have similar characteristics. We may not be able to count on geographical or biological continuity in this life, but the deepest things offer roots, and sustain us in turbulent times.
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