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“A tree lives by its roots. Change the roots and you change the tree. Change the tree and you change the forest.”

I recently heard this but I can’t remember where and I don’t know who said it but it stuck with me. I think it stuck with me because I have had one foot in the past lately. I have been very nostalgic and perhaps a bit maudlin about bygone days.

Our roots, the place we come from, ground us. Our roots shape us and to the extent that we remain grounded in that place, they define us. There is comfort in being rooted somewhere. With roots, comes stability. There is a feeling of safety and familiarity in our roots.

In this highly mobile society, many of us find ourselves re-rooted. I’m re-rooted. I have changed as a result of it. I like where I am planted now but I’ve never felt as settled, even after ten years of growth here. It takes a long time to grow deep roots. I am no longer around life long friends and my family is far away and scattered. I’ve lost something. My tree has changed and so has my forest. It’s not as thick now. There are gaps, people who are missing and my friendships now, while lovely, are not as binding because they lack history.

I am blooming where I am planted now. I’ve made the best of it, but even so, there is always a quiet vague hazy indefinable feeling of loss that stays with me no matter where I go or what I do. We’ve been where we are for nearly ten years. I have since grown new roots but they are not as thick. I miss the depth of my original roots. I miss my foundation. I miss my mother and I miss my family as it once was. I miss my friends as I once knew them. I suppose time changes everything anyway but when you’ve lost your roots and when the new ones you find yourself planted in are not as entrenched, you come to live on shakier ground.

I’m a different tree today than I would have been if I had never been uprooted. My forest now, while lovely, requires a different kind of tending. New relationships are harder to build when they don’t have the benefit of history and old ones need more nurturing because of distance and time. I fully admit that these things do not always happen as they should.

Everything is just a little harder to maintain once you change your tree and once you change your tree, you change the forest in which you live…forever.