Back to My Roots

Sometimes I forget I'm holding my breath, until I let go. A torrent of new air infiltrates my lungs and my chest rises with the surge of oxygen. Whole again. 

This weekend was just that for me. I returned to the family farm my mom grew up on, in the heart of Idaho falls, Idaho.

My stiletto heels had no place there. They came off quickly and as I sunk my bare feet into the moist dirt of the farmland, running until the sunlight flickered between the wheat stalks of those endless fields like a strobe light, I realized I've been holding my breath for some time now. I released and heaved in. Slowly. Deeply. Deliberately. 

It was good to be back to my childhood sojourn. Though this may have been the first time I fully recognized the hold it had on me. 

Diane Setterfield once wrote, All children mythologise their birth. It is a universal trait. you want to know someone? heart, mind and soul? ask him to tell you about when he was born. what you get won't be the truth: it will be a story. and nothing is more telling than a story. 

I used to long for a different story, once abandoned this one in hopes of a new one, an exotic one, alluding to distant lands and places not well known, so very far from here. Beyond my exploits along the coast of Mexico, I told of Nicaragua and London and New York City or my road trips through the southern states of America. There were my failed attempt to find a blues bar in Chicago, or my cleverness in navigating Rome for the first time.

But returning to those rolling fields of a simple town in the middle of nowhere resounded with me in a way those other places never could: the three-story treehouse my grandpa build with his own hands, the silo my cousins dared me to walk into at night, these side canals we ran alongside through fields of barley, the rope swing we swung upon each summer, the old house my mother was raised in, the muddy field we played football in when it rained, the tree my uncle cut down when playing pirates. These spaces reminded me that a place can give stability in a world of clashing opinions and divided perspectives. 

That it was always bigger than we knew. That it had a hold upon us we hadn't recognized. That it was more vital to our upbringing than we imagined. That there was more power in the simplicity of it than we could have anticipated. I would come to find a fierce pride in being a part of it and a dignity in knowing how deep the roots, how rampantly it runs through my veins. will always return, so long as there is an Idaho Falls to return to. 

© 2012 by Rachel Lowry. All rights reserved. {photo via my cousin, Hilary Cook}


  1. Rach, I love this. Makes me want to return.

  2. Laurie Ann Fielding LyonAugust 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    That how I feel about Idaho as well. It was rich and descriptive writing.

  3. Linda Braithwaite FieldingAugust 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Sweet article.

  4. And I as well! So well described!