Just outside my home office window, sits a bird feeder and a large tree.
The branches are scraggly at some points, thick, sturdy and robust in other places. When I go out to mow the lawn, I can see some of the roots bulging out of the ground. I know that gnarly root is just a fraction of the network in the ground below me.
We don't always see the roots in our lives, just like I don't see the massive system of roots in the ground under my lawn. But, maybe it's time we start looking at little closer.
J.R.R. Tolkein famously wrote, "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
In another poem, Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr. used an Oak tree battered by the wind as an example of strength in the midst of trial:
While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
'How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, 'I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
In choosing the name Root Story Studios, I decided to create a constant reminder that my story doesn't start with me - it's starts at my roots, with my ancestors. It starts with my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. It starts with my great grandparents, my great great grandparents and great great great grandparents.
Their stories are my stories. I see myself in each one of them. The spunk of my Great Grandpa Druzella, the journalistic senses of my relatives Confederate Brig. General William Barksdale Jr., the patriotism of my Union soldier ancestors, the quirkiness of my great great uncle Jack, my similar dislike of tomatoes in my great great Grandpa James.
These people are my roots; their stories I revere, honor and cherish.
You have those stories too, and you wouldn't be here without them. I'd venture to say our branches are nothing unless we pay careful attention to our roots.
So, how do we do that? We start preserving the stories of those roots, those loved ones before us. We keep those stories alive in our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
We don't stop by simply looking back in our history either - we look at our own stories and tell them.
Because someday, we'll be the roots in someone's life too.