Returning to Your Roots

What does getting back to your roots mean? Does it mean going back to the environment you grew up in? Does go beyond that? Is it something ancestral? Something primal?

I think the answer will be different for all of us, and in my case, my roots come from many trees and grow in various directions.

Up until I was about 6 years old, we lived smack dab in the middle of the small town of Canton, IL. We lived right across the street from South Park, yeah I know. While my dad took me fishing and hunting a few times, I definitely was not inundated with nature. It wasn't until my family moved into the country that my roots were established and at the same time splintered forever.

We moved to a piece of property with 13 acres, a pond, and next door neighbors that were heavily involved in the horse business. I was too young to recognize it at the time, but my dad completely transformed, or more accurately 'returned to his roots' once we made that move. Within the first few months, my dad bought his first horse, or as he put it, it was my horse, because who wouldn't buy a giant, chestnut gilding for a six-year-old. That horse's name was Bojangles. I can still remeber the first time my dad put me on his bareback, and I squeezed my heels to hang on, and off took Bojangles!

My dad traded his tennis shoes for cowboy boots, and t-shirts for button downs. I started to hunt bullfrogs every morning, fish for bass and bluegill in the strip-mine lake in the evening, and my parents were hard-pressed to me to come inside once the sun went down.

During dad's reawakening and my introduction to the country, my parent's marriage was anything but thriving. They divorced when I was eight, and at that time, I started splitting time between my mom's house back in town and living with my dad and soon to be stepmother at our country house.

The court let ME choose how the custody situation would work and decided it would be best to alternate a week at a time between both houses. Reflecting on this scenario, I think it molded me into a bit of a social chameleon. While in the country, I would attend 4-H meetings, show horses, and spend the rest of my time living in the woods. In town with my mom, I rode BMX bikes, played basketball, and tried to ward off the rough and tumble kids that lived in the neighborhood that I lovingly called the 'slums.'

This dichotomy was great in a lot of ways, but terrible in others. Overall I think it was a great character builder, even though I probably carried or possibly still carry some emotional baggage from it.

All that being said, when I reflect on where I've come from, it can be a bit confusing. As I've gotten married, contemplated children and exactly where my passion in this world lies. I am consistently led back to the country, to a time of exploration in nature and at the same time surrounded by nature.

My roots may be varied and twisted, surrounded by soil littered with rocks and debris. Thes are MY roots though, and at some point, we all return to where our roots first took hold.

Beau Beardroots, family, country