We had a tree that was transplanted and it died. We dug it up from its pot yesterday to discover that it was dead/dead. I can revive a lot of plants, trees, shrubs. But this one was a goner because when it was transplanted it’s tap root was cut off.
We all have a tap root and it’s attached to something we don’t think we can live without. Isabel Allende is 71 and she speaks to her 92 year old mother every day. Her mother reads her work. She has talked about how strongly she is attached to her mother. My friend Karen Lewis has many girlfriends to whom she is deeply attached, and there is her husband, but her mother is her tap root. Her mother, an elegant Russian Jewish lady still goes dancing, lives in Florida, flies to California to visit her daughters, her mother has a way of talking that makes you think of love and toast and honey and sweetness.
For some people, the tap root is a place. Can’t live without California. Without mountains. Without a running, or painting. Maybe you find that a life without surfing is impossible. A life without books. Without travel. Without religion. Without ideas.
The way life works sometimes you have to develop a new tap root. If you can’t, you become like the women you see in Greece, dressed in black, waiting to die now that their husbands are gone. Not all the women in black are waiting, but some certainly seem to simply be hanging between heaven and earth. Many people don’t outlive their spouse by much.
It is amazing to see someone develop a new tap root. You can’t sing opera any more and you find something else. Many women have trouble going on without their mothers. Red Hen is publishing two books by women who lost their mothers and have found their way to new ground. Most marriages do not survive the death of a child.
I think it’s good to know what your taproot is. For many of us, it’s complicated. I know that my children, writing, books, and Mark are all in there. A few friends.
When you take a shot at something about a person, their parents, their ideas, their activities, their friends, even in a friendly way, you get a sense whether you’ve hit the tap root. There is something that sustains each of us in our universe. We don’t want anyone to mess with it.
“Your mama,” is the original taproot joke because most people don’t want you to mess with their mama. Sometimes it’s very surprising, you say something not really meant to be a shot and find you’re in quicksand. You hit the taproot and you didn’t even know it.
Don’t mess with a person’s tap root. It is that which sustains life.
In a plant with a taproot system, the taproot is the largest, most central, and most dominant root. Typically a taproot is somewhat straight and very thick, is tapering in shape, and grows directly downward. In plants with taproot systems, the taproot is the central root from which other roots sprout laterally.