Growing Roots


May 3, 2012, In transit on Amtrak: It's that time of year again when I vow to learn how to garden. On Sunday, I visited our neighborhood hardware store called Frager's to pick up my annual supply of soil, plants and seeds. It was a sunny day and the outdoor garden shop was filled with people deliberating over the plants that suited them best and finding the ones they could keep alive. I lugged my selections home and got to work preparing the flower boxes on the back deck like I do every year, reading about the seeds, planting the flowers, convincing myself that this will be the year I'm finally successful in this endeavor. But I can't begin to pretend I know what I'm doing. I'm not good at this. People say it's simple, but I find it hard to grow roots. Growing roots. Someone I recently interviewed for an upcoming blog post phrased it that way when I asked her to describe adjusting to life on a continent far away from her family.

I grew roots, she said. It explained everything.

Even nomads can grow roots, I agree with her. But as we talked, one lesson was clear: She worked at it. The ingredients she needed to thrive did not magically fall from the sky the moment she hit the road. Growing roots doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without a concerted effort. Even in a place that feels like a perfect fit from the get-go, we've got work to do to establish a firm foundation and make a place home. The onus is on us to surround ourselves with the people and places that will help us grow.

Moving somewhere with a little water and sunshine never hurts either.