Soul is Rooted Within Us.
I took this striking picture of the old tree in the back of our house. It is amazing—its strength—which holds up tiny branches of life as they strive to shoot bullets of energy into the blue above. They are limitless. Their roots are mirror images of them; they stretch deep into the earth’s core, holding the tree and the ground I walk on in place.
Each time I go outside or go to yoga or even stand barefoot in the kitchen, I think about the many ways in which I am grounded. It is sad to say, but a hero of mine recently passed away. You can read about Wangari Maathai here. Essentially, Maathai’s mission in life was to create jobs for Kenyan women by paying them to plant trees. These trees, in turn, protected the land from erosion and created a source of firewood for villagers. These trees also offered empowerment to the women planting them.
I hope that someday I can be like this woman. She is beautiful, wholesome and courageous. She exhibits grace, strength and a sense of majesty. I hope that my future daughter will someday look up to women like Maathai.
As I photographed this tree, I thought about Wangari. I thought about the difference she makes by teaching women to plant trees in order to better their own lives—and the land they live on. There is a fundamental closeness to the land that is important for the human soul. In taking 10 minutes to plant a seedling, these Kenyan women escape their lives—whatever their situation may be—to hold hands with each other and the earth. That is beauty. That is what humans are wired to do.
Soul is nothing more than smelling moist soil on your hands and witnessing the birth of something organic and perfect.
It is rooted within us.
Jenna Penielle Lyons was born in Portales, New Mexico among sage and sand. Raised in Pocatello, Idaho among the black rock and juniper, she grew up wandering in cowboy boots, running, riding bikes, skiing, climbing, painting, and studying classical ballet. She is a scholar of English Literature, a poet, painter, photographer, musician, and outdoorswoman. She winters in Missoula and spends the summer working for Snake River Hotshots. She is a lover of mountain bluebirds & elephants, tea & good coffee, Carl Jung, Salvador Dali, skiing, climbing in the desert, yoga, harp music, and sagebrush. Her favorite foods are borscht and any combination of chocolate and cayenne pepper. Check out her work on Etsy (The Lyoness Den) and follow her adventures at elephantjournal.com or http://www.thelyonsroarliterature.blogspot.com.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel