Who is The Rootman?



“If you listen when you quiet you can always hear a drum beat. And it always tells you what you need to know.”

The Rootman

Who do you talk to when you need someone to talk to?

Who gives you inspiration? Who helps you figure shit out? Who makes the world a clearer place for you?

When you talk to yourself and ask yourself questions, whose voice(s) answer you?

My daughter has pointed out that I have several verbal ‘ticks’ that randomly come whispering out of my mouth at the oddest times. Like when I’m cleaning the kitchen, putting plates, pots and pans away, or storing utensils I’ll utter “cha-cha-cha” for example. I have no idea I’m saying it and can’t for the life of me remember where I might have picked it up. But it reminds me that I have a lot of voices in my head, a lot of influences that impact me and I don’t always recognize them. But I treasure them. They’ve reflected both real life experience and informed my intuition. They are guides and gifts. And I suppose they might even be musically inclined. Certainly they help keep me grounded and connected to experiences I’ve had over the years.

Years ago I wrote an old post about a storyteller I met at a very crucial time in my life.

His answers to my questions gave me a firm understanding of how I make choices. Sometimes I use simplistic, rational methods, like the Ben Franklin ledger and other times (hell, most times) I use that little voice in my head. While I can’t say either method has consistently guided me to a perfect life I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And I’m pretty happy about it too.

So, this whole Conversations with The Rootman thing…

Root is a melange, sometimes very noisy, sometimes babble-like, sometimes very clear. But always a voice in my head. He ain’t heavy, he ain’t me, he’s more Anansi in how he looks and sounds most times but sometimes he’s a former lover talking to me in soft whispers, admonishing me to listen as passionately as I speak.

I never have to call him, he just shows up, sometimes actually writing a post on my facebook page, sometimes telling me what to post. He hovers a lot, but never fact checks (“Facts is liars’s lies!”) and when I feel a need for him he’s nowhere in earshot. Those times I just have to imagine what he’d say. When that happens I remember what it was like talking to Clifton (see ‘an old post’ above), or one of my several wise uncles.

Or my mom, or her mother, my grandmother…

Or I remember those long days and nights with my drum brothers, carrying ourselves back to the bush, to where our African spirits were born, beating rhythms back to our true hearts.

What fonts of wisdom are there for you? Are they real people, existing now, or spirits of those long gone?

I’m so very fortunate to have wise friends I can text, IM, or call.

And I love my ghosts too. All of them are The Rootman.


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