Essay: Rooting Down

Mar 24, 2017

Spring officially began earlier this week, and the weather - for a few days this week - reflected the change of season.  Regardless of what the last few days of March look and feel like, Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz says this time of year is important:

Rooting down. I had never heard this expression. I'm not a farmer, I don’t particularly enjoy dirt under my fingernails, and only this past year had I ever even dabbled in planting my own bulbs. And I failed miserable at that, or so I thought. When neighbors' gardens began to sprout hyacinths, crocuses and daffodils, the first signs of spring, my soil lay bare, only the wood chips from last autumn’s mulching covered the ground. Perhaps I should have read the directions before planting the bulbs. Then I might have realized that there is an UP and a DOWN side to each bulb, and that I shouldn’t just throw them in ground willy nilly and expect them to rise.

Rooting down. I learned of this expression earlier this week from my very first CSA newsletter. ("I will not fear the rutabaga," I keep telling myself). Apparently, though we think of spring as a time of new growth and new life, it is also the time when the roots dig deeper. Underneath the soil, they take hold so that that the foundation upon which their bounty will grow can be strong and firm. Quietly they are working, though we cannot see this.

Rooting down. The stillness that comes before the wild and delicious bloom. Sometimes I feel like I am here. Like my tulips, just beginning to gingerly poke their heads through the soil, I too have needed a little extra time underground before I could come into my own and lay claim to my space in this world. Instead of being impatient or frustrated with myself (or my tulips), I am learning to honor the time we’ve both spent underground.

Rooting down. Beware of the magic.

Essayist Megan Schultz is a writer who lives on the east side of Milwaukee. She is a contributing writer for MKE Moms Blog and has had her work published on Brain, Child Magazine’s blog, and elsewhere.