Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Home: A Connection to the Land by L. Joyce Mundy

SOUVENIRS for Sept. 5, 2006
By L. Joyce Mundy
for more by L. Joyce Mundy, visit http://flyinggeesepublications.com

HOME: A CONNECTION TO THE LAND
Roots grow deep in Southern Indiana soil

I have long been aware of the strings that bind me to this particular place in the world, and to the locations that will always be "home" to me. Wherever I travel, the distance is measured from here. When I leave, I always have in mind how long it will be before I return. In the past, the bonds were entwined with the presence of my parents, but the connection to this place endures even after they are gone.

It almost seems that we have some unknown quality that centers us on the spot where we were reared. The Holler in Martin County, never lost its attraction for my father, as well as for others who were raised there. Garnett Mundy, one of the few remaining folks to grow up in the little valley, still has a longing to visit that place. The last time she was there, about 15 years ago, only the concrete porch and foundation of her parent's house could be found among the trees.

When I drive by our old home place, at the mouth of the Holler near White River, I still recognize enough of the terrain to feel a sense of nostalgia. Now the river bottom fields and hillside pastures are covered with trees, but I can imagine what was once there. And some things never change. The meandering little creek still runs into the river, and the river still flows west toward the sunset.

Our roots grew deeply into the fertile land cleared by our ancestors. Perhaps we can be compared to stubborn plants which are so firmly attached that some bit of the root still remains where it was first planted. Transplanted roots can flourish in new gardens, but there is always a memory that is never lost; a longing for the bit that was left behind. I wonder if it is only farm folks who feel these connections, or if people who grow up in the city can be similarly rooted there.

It must have been very difficult for our ancestors, to sail away from their homelands never to see them again. Owning one's own land was often the ambition of those who immigrated from places where this was not possible. They cut the strings that held them to the places of their birth in order to survive, and to find their own bit of land in which to grow new roots.