Today’s one word prompt is Roots Here is my contribution.
Although I am deeply interested in History, I become a tad bored when some ordinary person brags about their blood line and prattles off a list of great things their ancestors have achieved. I’m more interested in what they have achieved and how they live their lives now. Only if they tell me how their roots influenced their choices in life do I prick up my ears and pay attention.
If I were to find out that I was a direct descendant of Aristotle or Archimedes I would be fascinated and quite proud but I’d wonder why their brilliance had not found it’s way down to little old me! Perhaps over time the gene pool became diluted.
I looked through some old photographs of my grandparents recently and had some nostalgic moments. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles are the ones that shape our lives and even then it’s up to us to reach our potential because of or in spite of them.
The roots I am more concerned about today are the ones in my garden! I have this beautiful milkwood tree, indigenous to the area and protected by law.
Everything we do in the garden revolves around the tree. It provides wonderful shade, the birds love it and it gives us great pleasure but its ample shade affects the growth of lawn and it’s a problem finding something that will grow beneath it. We are in the process of trying some groundcover now and slow progress has been made.
There is a very famous milkwood tree in Mossel Bay. It was used as a “Post Office” during the days of the early explorers. It is marked with a plaque reading: “This post office tree stands near the fountains where the Portuguese navigators regularly drew water at Aguada de São Bras (now Mossel Bay) from 1488 onwards. In May 1500 Pêro de Ataíde, captain of a homeward bound ship of Pedro Cabral’s fleet, left a message here which was found on 7 July 1507 by the outward bound ships of João da Nova. According to tradition the mesthat were lsage was placed in an old shoe and tied to a tree”.
The letter told the story of how four ships from Bartholomeu Dias’s expedition were lost. The writer also warned future readers of the letter, of the dangers along the Indian coast.
In 1962 the South African Postal Service put up a mailbox in the shape of a shoe at the site of The Post Office Tree. Items posted there are cancelled with a special stamp.
Today in South Africa we are celebrating Freedom Day. Twenty Three years ago new roots were planted with the first non-racial democratic elections and The Rainbow Nation was born. Our roots go down deep as we collectively strive to build a strong new nation.