Trailing Roots

(Moving On - Wrangell-St. Elias Ntl. Park)

Always lifting, turning, remembering, landing, forgetting, lifting again, and moving on.

I’ve written before about transitions, and about the anxiety that can precede them. But now the wind is lifting me up again and I feel that feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me that I have be self contained; that if I try to anchor myself in some piece of ground then I’ll be torn at the uplifting. Imagine a sort of Celtic tree of life, roots curling to meet the branches, forming the symbol of a thousand infinities. If only it was that simple.

We forget, sometimes, that our world isn’t really couched by the margins of future and past. They’re so real in our story. That’s just it though: they’re simply the setting of our story, an imagined foreshadowing. Really, there’s just right now, when we’re floating our storyline through a world of our choosing. The pending transition of mine that’s giving m e this sense of ungrounding comes at the turning of a season, as the snow starts to lay a damp blanket of cold onto the Northwest. It’s an early gift, possibly just a tease, that says that this year might be better than the last. We need it. The powder drought of last year’s El Nino may have left skiers unhappy, but the true and humbling drought that comes with little snow is felt months later in the lowlands and the mountain sheds it’s too-thin skin. This last summer was a dry one.

This year may be rich, but it’s the skier’s curse to imagine too much. We pour over the weather reports, knowing that they’re wrong. We wax up the quiver, knowing that it will be weeks until nature obliges. We dress in white and hold pray-for-snow parties, and simmer our pipe-dreams in the seasonal beers that come too early, just in time for October’s first Christmas advertisement. The whole industry can’t help itself– summer has barely ended and already we’ve been doused in new product lines, and more movie premiers than you can shake a pair of sticks at. Still, winter’s at the door. It’s been slowly approaching like a sound just on the verge of earshot, but only now we’re starting to catch the beat. I’m hungry for it.

All of this moving, of the seasons, of my own transplanting, comes at a price. Every arriving is preceded by a departure, and every rooting by an uprooting. It’s the nasty truth of life that to create things, we have to kill others. Life springs eternal so long as there’s a knife to cut away what is no longer needed and what has become a burden or an unneeded tie. As the seasons go, the end of warmth that gives way to cold winter is more bearable knowing that the seasons turn circles, and that summer will come again just as we’ve started to really crave it. But with our own uprootings, within our lives, this sense of an inevitable cycle that will return to us what was lost is greatly lacking. There are, however, some ties that remain in a transplanting; stories and loves that we trail behind us like streamers to point back to the past at what else we might have chosen, but what we turned away. These stories can, I think, be fertile soil for regret if we fail to recognize that a life lived with any amount of creativity is bound to produce more faltering steps than clear strides. It’s the direction that matters, and the acceptance that where we have been and through what we have traveled has shaped us into who we are. Not perfect, certainly, but each scar is a lesson that only a fool could learn twice. It may be that the only worthwhile sort of nostalgia is to really feel and love those who we have loved and left, because in remembering them we realize the precious impermanence of what we now have. We owe now our perfect attention, and they our careless love, and if not today, when? Let it snow.

Category: Adventures, Travel, & Writing

One comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: