Best Of . . . Thanksgiving Weekend
Revisiting the FrankenCowl

ROOT: Symbolically Speaking

Often, the word I choose to live with for the year shows up . . .  as a symbol. Actually, all of my words do that, at least a little bit.  It's just that some words in some years suggest a symbol more than others. With some words it just seems more . . . pronounced.  

With journey . . . it was maps.
With balance . . . it was seesaws.
With flow . . . it was a river.

And with root . . . it's been all about trees.

IMG_7050 2

I mean, that's pretty on the nose . . . trees . . .  so not really surprising. But it works. It's easy, too, because I can just look out my windows and see them there, day in and day out. Standing tall. Swaying in the wind. Getting leaves. Losing leaves. Putting on a show with spring blossoms and fall color. Hosting birds. Providing shade. Tree stuff.

All while imagining. . . their extensive root systems underground.

I can't see it. 
(But I know it's there.)

Holding everything up.

So . . . trees . . . are a perfect reminder for me of all the things I've learned and considered and thought about this year. (It's so nice when it works out that way.)


The trees know
That you can be
Still and grow
            --- Chris McGeown


How about you? If you chose a word for the year, does it show up as a symbol for you?

And . . . it's time to start thinking about new words for a new year! Carolyn has started a thoughtful conversation with a number of word-choosing veterans (including moi) over on her blog. If you want some inspiration when it comes to choosing your word, check it out!



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Love the quote from Chris McGeown - so true. Root has definitely been a good word for you Kym.


After reading Braiding Sweetgrass, I have a new appreciation of roots and trees and how it all works together. Always enjoy reading your thoughts Kym


Trees are a perfect symbol for root. When my word was open, I often thought of doors and windows as symbolic of my word. It didn't really happen so much this year with create, though.


I've been so neglectful of my word this year that I don't know if I'll choose one for next year. But I do like the symbol idea, and I almost always "see" roots when I look at trees. I love that snowy tree photo!


I haven't seen many symbols of my word this year out in "the wild" (of the city neighborhood I live in, LOL), but I have a feeling that next year's word will be in my face a lot. I do love the image of the tree and your word for this year. It's just so versatile.

kathy b

I am trying to be sti11 and at the same time grow. It is not easy for me. But your reminder that it is va1id and a good thing is wonderfu1. Thanks


Be still and grow... at the same time! That is so perfect in my day today, Kym!

Thank you for sharing that! (and I love how your word symbols are so wonderful!)


Hmm....I don't think I've ever had a word with a corresponding symbol. I it my words? Or is it how I think?


I can't say that I have had a word with a symbol. Like Carolyn I wonder if that has to do with the way I think? On the other hand, most words are themselves a symbol of their meaning. In a way at least? Root is such an interesting concept. Be still and grow is a good way to learn.


All the time we had to memorize Joyce Kimble ‘s poem back in 4th grade,I kept saying to myself, “yeah, yeah, yeah, but can I memorize this by Thursday.” Much, much later I got it. Alice in Wonderland starts under a tree. The oldest living thing, according to last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, is a tree. Little boys live in their tree house branches…and so on. Great metaphor!


Trees and roots seem to be the symbol of our diminishing planet. Trees whether fully leafed in spring or bare boned in winter are inspiring for me. You put how I feel about them into words and terms I can live by this year. Your word (no matter which you choose) and what you write through the year inspires me always.


oh I love what Margene wrote! also, have you read The Island of Missing Trees yet? There's a fig tree in that story that really resonates with this idea of roots. I haven't found symbols for my words ... not sure if it's because they haven't lent themselves to symbols, or I simply haven't looked for them ... thank you for another thoughtful post leaving me with something to ponder!

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