About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roots...and Rootlessness*

An Autumn sunset over Lake Somerset in Pennsylvania

*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, November 27, 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Ralph Couey

“Where are you from?”

This is a question that usually sparks an immediate response. For most of us, there is that one piece of geography from which we sprung, where family resides and memories lie thickly upon the land, like an autumn fog. It’s the place that when we think of it, brings a sense of joy; of belonging; of identity. This slightly abridged quote from George Eliot which appeared at the beginning of the Civil War epic “Gods and Generals” helps define the idea:

A human life, I think, should be well-rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.
- George Eliot

For Pennsylvanians, especially those around here, the crenellated terrain of the Laurel Highlands is home. Many who live around here can trace their familial lineage back several generations without leaving Cambria or Somerset Counties. For them, the old Mexican adage rings true: "Mis raíces estan aquí." Which roughly translates as, “My roots are buried here.”