We packed a backpack, a simple lunch, a state park sticker. And left for 12 hours of freedom.
We chose a new road, to a new park that we’d never been to before, and discovered it together. We found out who can throw a rock the farthest, and who can skip them.
Later in the afternoon, we hiked through a favorite park. The river had flooded and later receded, leaving debris and wreckage and washed out paths. The exposed roots of the trees at the river’s edge fascinated me. They had grown, intertwined and tangled, twisting through the soil. Hidden until the flood came along, the roots were left exposed when the soil eroded away.
Doug and the kids threw rocks at the river, enjoying the day, trying to outdo each other by throwing rocks farther. Small One stepped in the water and got a chilly foot. Wild Boy climbed a tree of driftwood, lodged in the crook of another tree’s branches. He napped like a panther. While all this was going on around me, I couldn’t help but get lost in my thoughts about roots.
We all have them. Roots. They are where we come from, what we hold dear. Roots hold us fast and tightly to what we love. Mostly they are secret. But then when life happens, and we get flooded, our roots tend to show. Who are you, really, underneath the soil? To what do you try to cling?
As I contemplated life and roots and erosion, the joyful bantering of my family called me back to the river, and today. The kids were louder now, heaving larger stones and chunks of driftwood into the river. In the middle of the bedlam and chaos, Doug yelled “Hey, don’t throw the whole shoreline! This is not a war.” Rocks rained into the water by the fistful. The two littlest ones were trying to make a raft. “Can I, Mom? Can I? We could launch it from here.” A triangular shaped stone had been lashed to a stick, and Small One piped in “I have an arrow and now I’m gonna stay here forever.” This day is one to cherish, it's our twenty sixth wedding anniversary.
Time to throw some rocks.
As I pulled my mind away from roots, I found a pale, translucently striped agate. I tucked it in my zippered pocket, so I could take it home as a treasure. Then I lifted my eyes to the river, and found my family.
We’ve all got our roots.