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  • My father believed in roots. He believed in family and the in the strength being a close-knit one. He believed in nature's laws and he believed in treating our planet as if you are a visitor here, leaving it better than you found it. He believed in making memories, and in my family we have an abundance of them. They are wonderful memories and all involve nature. As a child the things I remember are raw: The burning, yellow heat of the sun on my face. The bright greens of the just-planted fields. The chill of the spring water in the stone-walled pond in my Gram's yard. Graceful, wispy willow trees swaying in the summer breeze. The smell of the coming downpours, as the skies open up and the trees overhead create a beautiful, green tapestry of leafy umbrellas to shield me from the raindrops.

    Some of my very best memories are of sitting on the boat dock my father made, tanned legs dangling over the side. Skimming my toes on sun-warmed creek water, holding a bamboo pole with a red and white bobber attached to the line, and a still-squiggling worm on the hook that I put on by myself. The feeling of the summer breeze on my face as pink and white flowers from my Dad's mimosa trees float by and tickle me on my cheek.

    Good memories indeed, all drummed up by the appearance of one little seed...a mimosa. It made it's escape from my mother's property by attaching itself to a tiny clump of moss. I planted my first outdoor plants in 8 years last summer and it felt good. The word roots kept running through my head as I formulated a plan for my new lease on life. Roots, roots, roots. Why are they so important?

    I've found my answer in this tiny little tree.

    Descendants of my father's original mimosa tree in Lancaster County, PA, the sturdy trees have found their way from the east coast, all the way to Stampede Avenue in Cody, Wyoming, where at least one still grows in the backyard. Several grow now in my Mom's yard and at least one tree grows in my brother's yard as well. My father planted them. He knew what he was talking about. Roots.

    And now I have one of my own to grow, to watch and nurture, to feed and water, to cherish. Each memory, as it flows from the plant to me, becomes part of me again. I will always have a deep, passionate love of nature, for my father instilled that in me as a child. I used to study this planet's infinite beauty, eyes filled with adoration and awe. I drifted away from it for a time but now I look on in amazement once again. Back to the basics, back to family, back to the mountains where I grew up. Simple things are things are best for me now. Planting a tree, making a salad from my mom's garden, spending time with the ones I love, making more memories.

    Time for a new beginning. With old roots.
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