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Roots and the Road

“Be good and you’ll be lonesome.” — Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

I’ve had this quote in my mind for a decade or two, floating about in the back of my brain. It sneaks back to the front now and then, mostly as a taunt to be more adventurous. Some may say I don’t need a prompt like that.

A healthy dose of mischief leads us into all sorts of adventure. A healthy sense of place leads us to a life of meaning. There’s a happy medium somewhere in between. We ought to be a bit adventurous, but ought to have something that grounds us too. How we weigh that out is different for each of us. We’re never really lonesome when we’re running towards something.

Last weekend Twain’s words drifted back front and center as I walked through a local greenhouse. It comes down to whether to plant tomatoes. If I plant them this year it signals I’m locked in to this place for at least another season. If I forgo the tomatoes, you might say I’m free to roam.

Life is more complicated than that. We aren’t locked into a life by the crops we plant. But it sure feels like you’re rooting yourself to that plot of land while you’re planting them. That chicken manure sure smells a lot like commitment when you’ve caught the adventure bug.

Still, I do love a good tomato.

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