Image of the Week – Roots

Image of the Week – Roots

Following up on Ann Naylor’s sabbatical research into image, we’re starting a new series on the CCS website – Image of the Week.  Each week we’ll post an image or photo, accompanied by a brief theological reflection.  And, of course, we’d love it if you added your own impressions and insights in the comment section.

Here’s this week’s image:

a tree with gnarled exposed roots


Have you ever had the roots of your faith exposed?  Maybe it was through an experience that forced you to think, What do I really believe?  Maybe it was a conversation with someone you thought was one of “your people,” until you discovered that assumptions you thought were shared and universal …weren’t.  Maybe it was somebody calling you on the gap between what you claim to believe and the way you act/talk/live.

It’s not comfortable.  I mean, sure, you get a clearer view of where you’re grounded, but in the process it feels like some of that grounding has been worn away.  Personally, it leaves me feeling defensive, edgy, and a bit sensitive (like the root of an over-brushed tooth).

In this photo, my eye goes to the dark spaces in the midst of the roots, revealed or created by the eroded earth.  Is this a nesting place for something furry and vulnerable to stay warm during the winter?  Is this a lair of creepy crawly things?  Is this a mysterious hiding place for buried treasure?  Or is it just …emptiness?

What happens for you when the deep truths of your faith  are exposed?  Where is God?  In the roots?  In the soil that has been worn away?  In the soil that remains?  In the space that is created?

If this image grabs you, leave your own thoughts and impressions in the comments.

(Photo credit: Ann Naylor.  Reflection: Scott Douglas.)


Comments: 3

  1. Mary Elizabeth Piercy says:

    The well worn image of roots and wings comes to mind. Perhaps in seeing our roots more clearly we can see where God is calling us to take wing more clearly. I love the idea that a dark space can bespeak of both helpful and difficult areas in our lives.
    Thanks for the wonderful picture and insightful comments. MEP

  2. CCS says:

    Thanks Mary Elizabeth. I was thinking about “roots and wings” too, and how about at some points in my life I’ve been much more root-focused (wanting to be deeply grounded in some kind of ancient tradition) and at other times I’ve been much more of wing-man (in the break free, get-me-outta-here sense, not in the help a buddy pick up people in a bar kind of way).

  3. Alice Watson says:

    In the forest around my house, the trees grow close together and the roots are often touching one another. This picture made me think of how I sense I’m tunneling new root systems in how I live: as in feeling and thinking about a situation and then noticing how I respond and what I know (ya, ya, I am busy spiral reflectioning), and choosing intentionally the direction(s) in which I will grow. And the growing edge feels strong, integral, vulnerable and new.

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