Root Words

I move between two worlds: the desert, its sharp, crisp edges and the sea, on an island away from the world.

My life has always been this way, a juxtaposed duality. A Gemini, after all. Always two of me in the room.

My desert world is vast and bright and full of present-tense me. I got sober here. A place of new beginnings. I met my husband here, another transplant uprooted from the centuries-old steadfastness of New England.

The island, though. It is full of past-tense me, of ghosts and lives and memories. Yet it is where the journey took me, in a soul-search for a future self I never set out to find.

All my life I have searched for home, a Dorothy lost in an Oz-like existence. I have come to realize that this flawed vision of home as a physical place lies within my own rootstock, not the branches of my family tree.

And as I summon the muse of my mother, who appears so effortlessly when I am writing in her old island studio, I begin to understand, just a little, how words and home are rooted together. How they take on life, breathing their universal breath, how they flow like the brook from the backyard into the cove. How I am merely their conduit from heart to page, through pen and keyboard. How they happen in a place not always confined to a geographic location. How, like a mother’s love, they always, always, start in my heart.