These Roots Run Deep

It stings. So much of what I endure each day simply stings. Oh, that’s my word for 2018, by the way: ENDURE. I wanted something more inspirational (or aspirational?), but as long as I still have moments where I must remind myself to breathe, endure will be my word. And, right now, I’m enduring the stinging, puffy eyes that come after a good cry.

Is it weird that crying now feels good to me? I spent several days feeling numb and didn’t like that feeling at all. I’ve discovered if I let my tears come when they need to, instead of blocking them or holding them back, they’re less likely to slip out when I don’t want them to – like in front of the electrician or chimney sweep or plumber or heating and cooling guy.

Have I mentioned I’ve had a lot of repairmen in my home since my husband left?

The most recent was the plumber, who came just a few days after Christmas to yank out a clump of roots that had invaded the pipes in my front yard. I told the plumber that next Christmas maybe Santa’s elves would remove my huge maple tree with the overzealous root system. I choked on the words, hating the thought of losing that tree.

My neighborhood is filled with large, old, fully grown trees – unlike the fancy, new neighborhoods all around us, where the homes are the focus and the yards have tiny saplings and no personality. The gorgeous, green canopy on the street where I live softens even the gnarliest front yard (mine included). I’ve seen a lot of plumbing trucks a street or two away from me, digging up front yards and cutting down trees, so I figured my turn was coming. But, I’m a painter of trees and a planter of trees, and spend my time trying to be like the trees – bending and not breaking, changing with the seasons, taking in and giving back.

Then my plumber told me even if I remove the tree, the roots will keep growing; especially the ones that discover the endless source of, um, fertilizer that comes through the pipes. I stopped listening for a moment, after he said that, distracted by the spot on metaphor he just provided. I can remove the tree, but that won’t stop the roots. They won’t stop growing, even after you’ve lobbed off their reason for living.

My husband took a chainsaw to the tree we planted 21 years ago, but our roots are still there. They confuse me, because they continue to grow and sometimes convince me there’s still something overhead, worth supporting. Ultimately, they’re just blocking my progress, and I know that someday I will have to install new pipes that these roots can’t interfere with. But that will take money or skills I don’t have yet, so for now I’ll consider it part of my therapy to call for help when these roots start choking me.

My damaged, but still functional plumbing, is just one more thing I get to endure in 2018. At least I know what’s causing the problem now and I will drag those damn roots out a few clumps at a time, to keep things moving forward and all my crap from backing up.

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