Where do we belong?
I recently made a trip home to Idaho, where I was born and raised, and where often times growing up, I didn’t feel I belonged.
But when I return home now, I realize this land is the place that I can most clearly say I’m “from.” As in, my seed was planted here, and this land is the portal through which I came into the world.
While I was home I took this photo a couple of blocks from my mother’s house. This particular thistle is not native to this particular land, but look how she rises toward the sun and shines! Look how she proudly claims her place in the cracked earth.
She may not know that in the eyes of some, she doesn’t belong here. But of course she belongs. This is where her seed was dropped, carried by a bird or a squirrel, or blown in on the wind, and she rooted and grew here, a child of the seeds of her ancestors.
I have a biologist friend, who in righteous anger stomps out any small plant that he considers “invasive” according to his textbook education. I have seen him stomp to pieces glorious little plants in the name of “preserving life.”
I understand the healthy balance of our lands has been disrupted by human activity in many ways, and it’s sometimes necessary to remove non-native species to make room for the native to thrive. But does that not mean that every life is beautiful and worthy of respect? Does that not mean that every thistle is sacred?
None of us asked to be born where we were (notwithstanding spiritual notions of the soul’s desire to be born in a certain place or time…). But we were all given equally this gift of life.
Life needs us to tend to and love the land we’re on, for the sake of all living beings and for future generations. And we can’t deeply tend and love a place if we don’t feel we belong.
Do you sometimes feel like a wayfaring seed? Have you been stomped on by others who said you don’t belong? Take heart; you’re not alone.
Whether you’re near or far from the homes and the bones of your ancestors, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong where you are (including yourself).
Dig your roots in. Claim your place in the soil. You are native to this earth. You belong.