It means something to be where you are from. And not just your family, not just your culture, or your religion or your country… It means something unequivocally significant to be an occupier of the land you live upon. I am quite certain that most do not have this sensibility, at least not consciously but perhaps when really pressed, would affirm how important it is to them.
What I am getting at is an extra level down into a deeper sense of one’s place in this world, one’s sense of self, one’s spiritual life, and one’s connection with all that is.
There is meaning to the old saying, “You are what you eat.” In a quite literal sense, our bodies our composed of the food and water that goes into us. What other way is there? This is why, when we lived in Oregon, we drank our water, straight from the land, straight from the spring. No filter, no chemicals. And food… Where is your body connected to if your food comes from thousands of miles away or is processed to the extent that it can only be called, as Michael Pollen terms it, “edible food-like substances?”
So it means something very literally in regard to our physical make-up. But what does it mean to be from the Fox Valley in WI? To have grown up on a farm and lived there your whole life? As a chaplain, living in one of the most “homegrown” cities in the country, it means something to talk to my patients about where they are from and wehter their parents grew up here too. For a person living in city and never having left, to never found one’s self in green space, with one’s hands in the dirt or toes in the sand… This means something to that person. Maybe an ungroundedness or a sense of nature as “enemy.”
There is a profound teaching in observing the greatest tai chi masters (watch a video of one on YouTube). Where do they draw this life force from that allows them to move people without even touching them or to be unmovable themselves?
One thought on “To be rooted to the land you walk upon”
I think about this alllllll the time, even more so since falling in love with someone who is deeply into Decolonization and what it means that we are all essentially diaspora (even though Casey lives in the town he was born, he is very aware that his dNa is from another place, and is constantly reaching back to that). I was (was I?) a daughter of the plains until I was six- then moved to tennessee (where arguably my ancestors were more generationally rooted than North Dakota) and then moving from Tennessee to Oregon- I have drank from the water of six different water sheds. Which water quenched my thirst? Which one tasted like home? What effect has that had on me? Lots of thoughts.