Ed paused in front of the group of trees, admiring their long, spread out roots. He sighed and thought about how he much envied those trees for their roots. He thought about how his family had relocated every few years when he was growing up. He had been what was called a “military brat.”
His father was career army and was frequently transferred to different army bases before he retired after thirty years of service. For Ed, that meant being uprooted, being separated from his friends, being sent to a new school, and pretty much having to start his life all over every couple of years.
He had always felt rootless as he was growing up. He became a bit standoffish, almost to the point of being a loner. Not because he wasn’t an affable kid, but because he knew that as soon as he got really close to anyone, he’d have to say goodbye and move with his family to a different state. That was difficult for him as well as for those other kids he had befriended.
Ed promised himself that, as an adult, he wouldn’t keep uprooting himself and his own family. If he ever got married and had kids, he told himself that he would not put them through what he had gone through. He would stay in one place and give himself and his children the chance to establish roots. That was the plan, anyway.
But Ed found himself easily bored. Bored with his job. Bored with his wife. Bored with his life. Every few years, he would look for a new job in a different city or a different state. The first few times it happened, his wife and daughter went with him. But when he told his wife for the third time in seven years that a great new job opportunity in another state had surfaced, she refused to follow him.
Ed left his wife and his daughter behind, moved to a new city, began a new job, and started his life over. And he did that again and again.
Now an old man, Ed had left behind three ex-wives. He had five children from whom he was estranged. He had grandchildren, too, but he wasn’t sure how many because and he’d never met any of them. He had lost touch with his wives and kids over the years and now they were spread all around the county, while Ed, who never made any close friends, was totally alone in the world.
Ed looked at the long, spread out roots of those trees and thought about how different his life might have been if he, like those trees, had stayed in one place and been able to establish strong roots.
Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.