The ToLoveProject: Roots
If we unearth the roots, we can get to the bone of the matter. The slow reveal.
I’m tryin’ to find the way that I felt before I learned to hide.
Canopy...of mulberry leaves...
See veins when they’re held up to the light.
I used to hang out in a tree when I wanted to hide out, and I called it a mulberry at the time. I distinctly remember the canopy of large green leaves that emerged come late summer, and how it hovered above me like the ultimate protection. A lush green dome.
Hideout. Safety. Ponder your shame.
When we get to the marrow of the bone, we get to the blood of it all. The real motivator: Love.
We want it. We try it. We lose it. We fear it. We give it again. We forget how to feel it. And some of us never feel it again. Maybe some of us never did. When I think about all the things people do to one another, to other creatures, to the earth that holds us (melting away), I think this: all behavior is driven by our desire to give love and receive it, and when we can't live out that fundamental necessity, we wander a wasteland. The world suffers, in so many ways, from the minutiae to the grand scale, and we can find proof of it every minute of every day if we choose to look at humanity's core, knowing that what we see might burn a hole through our hearts.
But. We can also look at human acts driven by love and empathy. We can be insanely inspired. We can know that deep down, if we peel back enough layers of shale and stone, those fortresses of our hearts, we share something deeply animal--a fear of love and a fear of loss.
We are all here for the same reason...to love, love, love...
We are all fearin' the same season...it's over...over...
Whether or not we want to acknowledge what is happening, what is happening doesn't stop when we close our eyes. A refugee crisis doesn't just ebb with the tides, a lack of drinkable water doesn't simply self-heal, violence against women and other people who are falsely seen as an imminent threat doesn't just boil over, and social, racial, and economic injustice doesn't dutifully go to sleep when night falls. We know this, and yet we can't seem to garner and nourish our people power to the point of critical mass.
So. The song "To Love" is, amongst other things, my plea for a collective empathy like we have never known, however idealistic that might be. Empathy (perhaps an offshoot of love, or maybe even the foundation of love) enables us to face what is gong on in the world without turning people into objects, numbers, and "collateral damage." Empathy enables us to understand that other animals have an ancestry, just like you and I do. Extend that to trees, some of whom live to be 2,000 years old! Wrap that back around to someone across the world, or maybe one block over, born into entirely different circumstances, no more at fault than you are for what they have been born into, and with just as complex a lineage.
Roots: when we unearth them, we see their gnarled-up limbs, and their far-reaching imperfections. If we close our eyes for a moment of reflection (not to avert our gaze), we can feel that their weathered arms are trying to give us a sense of place in this spinning craziness, this chaotic vortex, this gorgeous and hideous and magnificent maelstrom that we collectively call home.