I often find myself overcome with an unshakable feeling of familiarity. It happens to lots of people, but I usually become fixated on finding an explanation. A place I have never been before, a conversation about a topic that I have never discussed, the aroma of a flower that I have never seen, a building that I have never entered… have all set off this feeling. I lose myself trying to find an explanation… but I always come up empty-handed. I shrug it off, soon forget it ever happened, and move on.
One night, I laid down in bed ready to call it quits for the day. I dozed off and remember seeing my great-grandmother. She was talking to me, but I could not hear what she was saying. I tried to listen closer, but it was as if she was on mute. Suddenly I woke up to the sound of my own voice loudly and clearly saying, “Semu tutti fatti di radici.” Which translates to, “We are all made of roots.” I sat up in bed for 30 minutes, in the dark, wondering what that was all about. I don’t dream in Italian, and when I do talk in my sleep I am told that it is usually mumbling and nonsense. This was different. I spoke clearly as if I was having a conversation. Unsure of what to make of it, I wrote down what I said, and let it sit in the back of my head.
While walking through the city one afternoon, I passed a building that I had never seen, on a street that I had never walked. My eyes were fixed on the architecture as if I had studied the scrolls and brick work many times before. I walked into a coffee shop across from the building to grab an espresso and, as usual, began thinking about why I may have felt a familiarity with that building. As I sat there I thought back to the phrase that woke me up. What if this feeling of familiarity is not my own?
What if being “made of roots” meant that we are truly connected to all those that have come before us… tied to them on a more spiritual level? Even when we lose them, they stay with us… part of a root system that helps us grow emotionally and spiritually. Imagine then that the “feeling of familiarity” is the feeling we get when someone from our roots is reliving a memory through our own eyes… replaying a brief moment through us. If this could be true, perhaps we should hold on to that moment for just a little longer.
“Semu tutti fatti di radici.”