Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Roots Roots Everywhere

New Beginning, encaustic, 9" x 12"

I've been fixated on roots lately. My latest encaustics depict flowers or trees with roots. I even created a figure of myself with roots emerging from the base of me.

In my massage practice, I often guide people through a little meditation at the end of my sessions in which my clients imagine their feet as the roots of a tree, placed firmly in the earth. I remind my clients that even when the wind blows us about, we stay safe and secure with our feet in the earth, our roots grounding us. I realized tonight after giving a Reiki session that when I give this meditation, I am telling my story of love, loss, and strength.

Roots have become a symbol of strength for me. My version of strength. I like the fact that roots are malleable -- that they grow and move, yet remain strong. I've been searching for how to go on in life without the boulder strength my dad exuded with every gesture, breath and word. I had been playing with images of rocks and stones in my art, thinking that those hard structures would be my grounding force for strength. Like my dad, I thought I would let the river water smooth me, as he smoothed during his months with cancer, when he became like the river itself, always glistening with water at the edges of his eyes. But still that abiding river rock, his presence strong.

But then I realized that I am not my father (seems an easy thing to realize, but grief creates tear gas for the psyche). I realized that I am not a boulder of strength like my dad. I dig deep like roots. I am wet and messy. I become tangled easily. When I hit an obstacle, I don't crush it, I wrap myself around it, almost as an embrace. I am fibrous and may lose parts of myself and regrow them again.

I like to imagine my father as a stone in the earth that I encounter as I follow my rooted path to water and nutrients. I like to imagine finding him there among the rich detritus and wrapping one of my tendrils around him, holding him firmly as he becomes my anchor for the next big storm.


  1. I think your father has given you the two things parents should always give thier children...roots and wings. You're finding them and it's a good thing.
    I don't know who said this first but it has always been a favorite saying of mine.

  2. Thank you, Binky. I love that -- roots and wings. Yes, indeed.

  3. hello Courtney...one of my favorite things to see when hiking in the white mountains in NH is the way trees seem to grow right out of enormous boulders...wrapping their legs around the immense, solid, granite forms in search of nutrients. This is what I envisioned as I was reading your blog...I saw you wrapping your arms around your fathers bolder like strength...the memory of his strength and love supporting you, but still a separation between the two of you and how you choose to live your lives.

    blessings on you journey,

  4. I found your blog and I have enjoyed your post.
    Your work is very interesting. I will visit again.

  5. Laura, thank you for your message and your images of roots from NH. And I thank you for affirming my journey. Blessings to you, too.

    Poetic Artist, Thank you for stropping by! Please do visit again!


  6. Envisioning imaginary creatures in the beautiful, intricate whorls of roots has always fascinated me, Courtney. This is a lovely piece today. Wishing you love and joy this holiday season.