Small town roots

Unsurprisingly, I recently found myself yearning for a getaway from what I jokingly call highway life (fast-paced, and ironically, we really do live sandwiched between two major highways). So we took a little drive on farm-to-market roads to where my mom and her mom and her mom’s mom grew up, a place which seems to hold a great well of peace for me. It’s small – too far from the city to become a trendy town – and yet, it’s happily familiar. A quiet constant throughout my life.

It’s mixed with a sense of our family’s beginning, some of the happiest moments of my childhood, and an ever-growing love for the land where my grandmother’s house sits.

Perhaps it’s the instability and uncertainty of my own life that makes me cling to it – even when everyone else seems to be letting it go.

“It’s not the same,” “not many loved ones left,” “in the middle of no where – too far,” “left behind”…

And yet…

For me, this is the place where the idea of family began:

My parent’s wedding, walking through a screen door to home-cooked meals every holiday, Easter Bunny nests, driving through the neighborhood to see Christmas lights, summer parades around the square, stopping along country roads for bluebonnet photos, swinging in the hammock under pecan trees, fish fry suppers, watermelon and cantaloupes from the garden…

Every thought and memory of family life sits in the soil where the seeds they planted now contain the roots of mature trees, in the stones of the buildings on the square that once were owned by drug stores and family businesses… and even the place I scrawled my name with a stick in wet concrete in front of the grocery store that no one would know to look for but me…

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I don’t want to let go of this land. But you hear the stories all the time around here. Family moves away, people pass away, times change and large chunks of earth are parceled away. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Things can’t stay as they were forever. And yet, my great, great, grandfather planted those pear trees. They too had visions for these fields, and perhaps they would stand in this spot and look up as the clouds floated by.

I know this is a precious thing, to be rooted in a place loved ones lived and toiled for lifetimes before you. It’s messy and imperfect, but it’s part of you. It’s a series of events that led to who you are. Traits and cycles and lessons passed from mother to daughter, father to son. I don’t want to uproot generations of our history, and yet, what do you do?

Collect the black and white photos, the stories… try not to forget the bit of this and bit of that recipes?

For now, I’m learning what to say goodbye to as each year passes. Even though we won’t always be able to visit the places and people that hold parts of our story, they never really leave us… they’ve been forever inscribed onto our souls.

And if you stuck with me this far, here’s a silly slow motion video of Lily running in a field absolutely loving country life. ❤️

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