My roots have never grown deep.
During my growing up years, the longest my family lived in the same home was where we lived when I was born until I reached the age of five! Not a lot of time for putting down roots.
My parents were missionaries and I grew up in Central Mexico… the place I still consider my “home” more than anywhere else even though I was, by most standards, an outsider there.
At the age of 15, I moved to Oregon. Though I had never even visited there before, the snow-capped mountains and picturesque pastoral scenery instantly put me at ease reminding me of the beautiful landscapes I had left behind in Mexico. I quickly felt “at home” in the Northwest.
Picking up roots once again, I moved to rural Georgia when I was 23 (more years ago than I care to mention). More than any place I had moved before, Georgia felt very foreign to me. The accents, the phrases, the weather, the landscape, the manners, the overwhelming friendliness…. it was all a bit much for me to take in.
My family is from the South, so to a certain degree, I had always considered myself a Southerner, but I was in for quite a shock when I became fully immersed!
I was truly transplanted. Pulled up by the roots and deposited into foreign soil amongst unfamiliar surroundings. I had trouble understanding what people said to me, the strong southern accents were nothing to the local colloquialisms that I found utterly baffling. The weather very nearly killed me (literally!) – 100 degrees coupled with 100% humidity – how does anyone survive that??? The mosquitoes and gnats drove me insane. The landscape left my soul barren – where were the mountains? Pine trees were something I was used to in Oregon where I thought they were plentiful – but it was nothing to the tightly planted pine forests of South Georgia. I felt confined, claustrophobic even, with pine trees (not to mention the kudzu) obstructing my view in every direction.
It took me a long time to fully appreciate and acclimate to my new HOME, but it did happen gradually over time.
I came to understand what people were saying to me and to appreciate the friendly and hospitable manner of the South. It has even helped to bring me out of my introverted shell so that I can seem downright chatty to those who knew me best in my pre-transplant days. Always a verbal chameleon, I now speak southern fluently.
I came to love the natural beauty of this region – it lacks the overt majesty of mountains, but it gently woos the soul with its subtle beauties. The graceful live oaks laced with Spanish moss, a cotton field on the brink of harvest, a marsh filled with the sounds of life, a fiery sunset behind grazing cattle, a dilapidated old barn blending in with the fog… these are a few of my new favorite things.
It occurred to me recently that this IS my home and that my roots have recovered from their transplant shock and that it is high time for them to push down deeper, spread a little wider, and help this transplant become fully established. And to that end, this blog is born.