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on distance {five minute friday}

April 15, 2011

“There are two things we can give our children: One is roots.  The other is wings.” It’s been a sort of family motto for as long as I can remember.

My family is great at the wings part.  We have taken flight to roost all over the country.  From LA to Seattle to Phoenix to Raleigh to Pittsburgh to New York City to middle of nowhere Pennsylvania.  I come from a long line of explorers.

I think of my great-great-great-something grandfather who took to flight as a toddler when his parents trudged down the Oregon trail leaving him to better chances of survival in the adoptive arms of his aunt.  New roots.

Can families pass on a legacy of distance?

I chose to graduate from college, pack up my childhood room and nest in Pittsburgh.  Eight years later I am still titillated by the new adventure.  Just yesterday, I felt it.  Driving through Oakland past the University of Pittsburgh, the smells of pizza and roasted coffee and cherry blossoms and gyros.  The college students milling about in flip-flops, flats, gladiators, and Sperrys.  The jewel-toned dresses fluttering through the Carnegie Museum of Art as champagne bottles popped, fizzed, settled into berths of tall glasses for a gala.  The sun melting sideways as it slid across the horizon, draping the sky scrapers and rivers and parks with long scarves of shadow.

Sometimes I miss the roots.  Sometimes I mourn that the people I am closest to are connected to me by hundreds of miles of thin telephone wires while families two houses down from mine are complete strangers.

Sometimes distance is a blessing.  Sometimes it’s not.

I’ve been given roots and wings.  What I can’t seem to figure out is how to have them both harmoniously.  One prefers a sessile existence while the other tugs.

I am caught between.

Thank you Gypsa Mama for another inspiring post topic and for limiting responses to five minutes(!).  No time to really think or proofread or mull it over.  Just write and hit publish and share.  Check out Five Minute Friday to find some stellar writers who can do amazing things with just five minutes of their Fridays.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 8:32 am

    Well, we’re exactly the opposite! My roots run deep here in southeast Virginia, and I’ve never lived more than 15 miles from the house where I was raised.
    Guess someone clipped my wings…! 😉

  2. April 15, 2011 11:05 am

    I know how you feel! Loved this post.


  3. April 15, 2011 5:48 pm

    Roots and wings–I love them both and have learned one is not complete without the other. They define each other in relief. And how we use them, in turn, defines us. But I have come to appreciate how important family, chosen or given, is in the end. Dianna, no one clipped your wings–there is such a gift in the bond of loved ones. Sometimes our roots provide us the venue for our wings to fly.

  4. April 18, 2011 12:46 am

    Totally relate! With Joy, Carey

  5. April 18, 2011 2:02 am

    Beth, I relate to this post all too well! Wings are awesome and bring so much adventure to life… but roots are incredibly important and giving meaning to life. I always fantasize about my wings, but currently I’m relishing in my roots 🙂

  6. CindyWaldrop permalink
    April 19, 2011 5:36 am

    Ah…wings and roots. One of my favorite quotes. One I recall a lot as a mother to this crazy family. Lovely post

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