Spring brings the promise of new life, with sunny daffodils blooming, and the impossibly verdant green of the newborn leaves. I find myself anticipating the optimistic planting of vegetable seeds, trips to the Garden Center to marvel at their gorgeous abundance and bringing back a car full of the beauties I just couldn’t resist. 

Suzanne Simard, in Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, captured that feeling perfectly when she wrote: 

“Such a marvel, the tenacity of the buds to surge with life every spring, to greet the lengthening days and warming weather with exuberance, no matter what hardships were brought by winter.” 

Plunging my hands in the rich soil and freeing my floral treasures from their tiny pots made me reflect on the root systems that nurture and sustain life. Holding their fibrous roots in the palm of my hand, I can imagine their future glory as they develop into a multitude of beautiful blooms. They remind me of myself, investing in family and friends, and belonging to many different groups. Each one forms different connections and enriches my life with shared common interests. 

My favourite vegetables, like carrots and beets, will have a strong, nutritious tap root. I think of them as the matriarchs, like my little mother, who invested all of her time and energy into her family. She devoted herself to her children and grandchildren and was happiest when she was able to show her love in action. That singular, rich, deep connection reaps a different kind of harvest.

Like trying to decide between annuals or perennials, one root system is not better than the other. They are just different and designed to be the best for each individual. Diversity really does matter in all communities, and human beings create societies that are as rich and complex as the forest ecosystem that we are so privileged to have in the Elk Valley. 

Sometime caregiving feels like a long, cold winter and we may ache to have new growth instead of steady decline. In order to survive and thrive, we sometimes need to spread our roots to form different connections. Caregivers are often the last to acknowledge and accept the extra load that caregiving adds to their own life. There are many ways to be rooted, and spring may be the perfect time to reflect upon what sustains and nurtures each one of us. 

The Elk Valley Caregiver Support Group meets at Mugshots at 3:30pm the 4th Wednesday of each month. 
For more info on support groups contact:
Marianne Agnew, Elk Valley Caregiver Support Facilitator:
The Caregivers Network for East Kootenay Seniors Facebook page
Toll free line 1-877-489-