I don’t know how I missed it, but I managed to sleep through the storm that blasted through the valley on Monday night. My first clue that something was up was when I noticed a large tree fallen across the sidewalk on my morning walk. As I drove down Baseline on my way home from school, I saw several trees uprooted, one on a median close to my neighborhood. I also saw Facebook photos of a huge tree that fell in a former Seed family’s back yard. It’s that time of year when we lose a lot of trees this way. It’s made me ponder what it means to be uprooted.
News from Afghanistan is certainly giving us real time examples of uprootedness at its most extreme. The continuing spread of wildfires in the western United States can daily uproot an entire community. Countless lives have been uprooted by the recent earthquake in Haiti. Losing a tree or two is nothing in comparison to these dire situations. Nevertheless, it’s upsetting to have a tree uprooted that you’ve spent years cultivating. For some of the trees, uprooting occurs because the root base is too small, due to lack of deep watering. In other cases, the canopy of the tree isn’t thinned out, so the wind will “blow through it instead of grabbing the canopy like a sail and taking it down.” And then there are weather events that create havoc no matter how thoroughly roots reach into the earth.
There’s no way to be prepared for intense, unexpected events. We can use common sense and prepare ourselves for basic needs in cases of emergency, but ultimately we’re all at the mercy of whatever unfolds in the world. In thinking about the uprooted trees as a metaphor, I keep coming back to the practice of deep watering. Active listening, living in a kind-hearted, curious way, using one’s voice to advocate for self and others, and staying open to everyday learning opportunities all seem to be forms of deep watering our lives. They won’t prevent naturally occurring events from happening, but perhaps they will strengthen the foundation from which we respond. Our world most certainly needs more deeply watered humans for the present time as well as our future.
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” —J. R. R. Tolkien