Of Dandelions and Evergreens

Saint Patrick's Day. A day of pondering, reckoning.
This place is filled without me. Abandoned without me.
Where to from here?
Anywhere? A nomadic bent, always present.
Do I ever cease to heed its call?

January 2006, The Credit Union Journal contained this:

No one would argue that life is much different in the United States from 20, 10, or even five years ago. We have become an increasingly mobile and transient society, thanks in large part to technology. People are no longer confined to cities, or even towns, where they have historically been dependent on a close-knit network of merchants and service providers for their essential needs. They can move farther, faster and access information and goods through a vast variety of channels. This includes financial services.

November 2005, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer contained this:

In neighborhoods cursed with the misfortune of prime location, buyers are 'dozing cottages and wedging in palaces that hog the views and lay shadows over their neighbors. Last year, 368 Seattle houses were razed to make way for bigger ones, or apartment or condo buildings. The trend echoes our general indifference to large-scale environmental issues. If the sociobiologists have it right, we're shaped by evolution to value only the welfare of our immediate kin and clan - which in this highly transient society doesn't include our neighborhood and city. We're innately selfish, and more than ever, our houses are showing it.

April 2005, The Christian Science Monitor contained this:

NEW YORK -- It sounds like something a kid might dream up: a structure made of shipping containers and paper tubes. But the Nomadic Museum on Pier 54 in Manhattan was designed by a grown-up - one who is being recognized for his contribution to architecture.
The temporary museum on the Hudson River - built to house a traveling photography exhibition - will be an introduction for many Americans to Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect known for his work with recyclable and reusable materials, particularly paper.
With its cardboard columns and cathedral-like ceiling, the museum offers a hint of Mr. Ban's range. He has created emergency housing for earthquake survivors and was part of a team that was a finalist in the bid to redesign the World Trade Center site. This month he was presented with an award from the University of Virginia - one of many he's earned since starting his firm in 1985.
Besides his use of paper, Ban's legacy may be his ability to make buildings portable, a characteristic that addresses both the needs of those left homeless by natural disasters and an increasingly transient society.

January 2005, History: Review of New Books reviewed Robert Archibald's The New Town Square. The review contained this:

Archibald maintains that the United States has become an increasingly transient society, with most Americans defining themselves more as consumers of lifestyles than as members of communities. He suggests that as the American sense of place erodes, group historical memories become one of the few remaining ties that bind people together.

March 2005, The Washington Post, in its obituary of Ron Carroll, Boy Scout Executive, contained this:

Later in [2000], [Ron Carroll] told The Post that Boy Scouts of America was working hard to meet major societal changes. "Children today have more options, more undesirable options," he said. "It's tougher today than it ever was, and I've been working with Boy Scouts for 30 years. There are more kids in single-parent families. We're a more transient society; there are more moves and fewer roots."

In the mathematical universe, so much of mumbers theory revolves around the identification of the root.
In many different areas, diagnostic issues focus on the root cause of the problem, the issue.
In the computer world, we have the root directory.
In music, the fundamental note of a chord is the root.

In the chord that reverberates outward, emanating from this energy that is me, bouncing off the floors and trees and walls and maybe through your skin your ears, your mind, your heart... what is the root? What is the fundamental note of my chord?

I love to pluck the the gossamer ball of a mature dandelion, bring it to my lips and blow. Watch the seeds scatter beautifully in the wind. Nevermind that I now will have more dandelions. I live in the country and have a field to play in. Besides, I am obsessive about enough things already. A few weeds in my yard do not bother me. Many of these blown seeds will take root. Some of you may know that the root of a dandelion is not terribly deep, but it certainly has a firm hold on its little plot of soil. For most of my life, I have been the parachuted seed, blowing in the wind, landing only to be blown again. I have lacked roots, whether deep or firm-grasping.

My family is scattered in both heart and home, and our “traditions” are dominated by the “we’ll get together sometime, oh, how’re the children” conversations once every month or two. My dreams and goals have been scattered and smothered. My convictions....
I have convictions. Unshakeable, immovable beliefs. These, then, must be my roots. I may wander, but I stay within the boundary defined by my convictions. When the boundary is breached, it is because I tend to test certain convictions, to test this sense of self.

I can handle convictions as roots. For many, it is this way, I am sure. However, I love it when I have the opportunity to be around people with a vast and complex root system. Their network of roots includes their convictions, their family, their friends, and so much more. I get the sense, being around these people, that an entire community may be destroyed if part of the network failed. And, at times, these networks do fail. Roots need nourishment. Older now, I can look back and see that my grandparents tried to feed the root system that their parents had maintained. They attempted to nourish it through love and instruction, prayer and dinners together, family customs, patience, and time. Their prodigy, though: dandelions. The field they worked: an arid pavement. As I glance at the family outposts scattered far and wide, I notice that the ones who are thriving to any degree are doing so in the cracks in the pavement. It is tough work, being planted. Tougher work to bloom.

I look at my children. The wind blows. We reside in our own crack in the pavement, though. And we are busting rocks. Transience has its place, and I am recognizing the outlets for this energy, this nomadic spirit. For all we learn in everything we do, we learn more from our children - if we allow ourselves. Perhaps there exists no better school than that school where the parent learns from the child. Naturally, much of this learning is a covert exercise in self-awareness and selflessness. The wind can blow, but these roots are strong and getting stronger. I can be planted here....
We are no dandelions. We are no mere perennial beauties, either. We are evergreen, evermore.

My children, my convictions, my handful of dreams. These are my roots. These comprise the fundamental root of my chord. And it is a minor seventh chord, both melancholy and joyful. Brief sadness at the passage of time, splashes of brilliance and laughter at the sharing of time. It is a melodic chord, beautiful. And it deserves to be heard, if only by me.

* * * * *

With all the problems Blogger had yesterday, I couldn't post this. So it is a day late. I still feel that it is worth posting.

A prayer of Saint Patrick, moving, strong:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

~ Happy Saint Patrick's Day! ~

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