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Root Strength

110. Root Strength

My mother had a set of books by Harold Kohn that she passed on to me and last year I read all three of them—each filled with short one or two-page essays. In one of them, Adventures in Insight, Kohn describes the brook outside his study window, and the birch trees that grow in clusters or alone beside the stream.

He pictures the damp earth and how the trees bend in a storm. They bend but never fall because of their roots. He explains that those roots reach out for each other and entangle themselves together so that they become extra strong and he calls them “a fellowship of roots.”

My mother was the oldest of nine children and she ended up being very strong. Her mother (my grandmother) was the provider for those nine children almost immediately after the birth of the youngest one. She had a woman friend who lived with her and the two of them with low paying jobs held that family together. Obviously Granny was strong too.

I see those three women as a part of my root strength. Added to them are significant friends who have tangled their lives with mine, along with my own family. We become, like the birch trees, “a fellowship of roots.”

Perhaps I, too, am contributing my root strength to others. I hope so.

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