Monday, January 7, 2008

Root Viewer

I was composting autumn's mums the other day, but of course I'd delayed too long and the potting soil was frozen solid in perfect flowerpot forms. No hope of just sliding the root masses out, I broke the plastic, which cracked in the unruly manner of overly boiled eggshell, flaking off here, sticking stubbornly there and requiring multiple cracks against the railroad-tie wall to come off completely. Inside their glassy shell, the roots were a cross between undersea tentacles and leftover lo mein.



For Christmas we'd gotten the boy a Root Viewer planting kit -- three plastic vials in a wood stand, some peat moss, and seeds: carrot, radish, onion. You plant, then thin down to the one seedling that looks most promising, and watch as it grows a root veggie in the tube. Sounds cool.

I grew up about 58 miles from where I live now. A well-traveled woman who lives with me started out about 11 miles away. This region has always had allure for me; something about the romance of northward, something about the river's origins in the "forever wild" mountains. It seems so natural to live here. It's also not far from my roots, not so foreign that I can't understand it, but just different enough -- a little wilder, a little older -- that it feels like my own place.

How far are you from your roots?






8 comments:

Suzanne said...

I'm 2000 miles from point A. It was culture shock at first, but after a decade it feels like home. I could go anywhere with the hubby and kids, though. China, New England, New Mexico, it wouldn't matter. They are my home.

wcs said...

Kunta Kinte I'm not. But you, Bill, are closer to my roots than I am at the moment.

Still, somehow, rural France (where I am now) feels as though it has more in common with my upstate NY origins than the big, bad west coast ever did.

I feel right at home here.

evenfurtherupstate said...

I'm 81 miles north of my roots, according to Google maps.

I'm guessing the 81 miles from Ulster County to Albany County, however, don't feel nearly as far as the 58 miles from your roots to your branches. . . .

Magpie said...

In the car? About an hour.

In reality? I grew up in an Eastern suburb of NYC, and I am now in a Northern suburb. So, not so far at all.

Claudia in Toronto said...

From French Montreal to English Toronto...via James Bay, Northern Ontario, Texas, Baffin Island. The distance from my roots cannot be calculated in miles. Even if it would be next door, I could never go back!

Bill Braine said...

Who'd want to go back? No thanks.

Amy H said...

An ocean away - and thankful for that ocean!

robin said...

Hey there. I'm hoping you can tell me how the root viewer turned out. I'm trying to put a homemade one together for my kids class, but I'm wondering if you can really see the veggies grow like they show in the package picture. So far we've got some great sprouts right up against the window. Would love to hear how it turned out for you.