The Watering Hole Blog

Hold Onto What Has ROOTS

Updated Jan 29th, 2024

If You Are Going to Hold Onto Something for Dear Life…Make Sure It Has ROOTS


“A tree with strong roots laughs at storms.”

– Malay proverb

Oh, the things we do for our dogs. 

If you look closely at the above photo, you will see an orange & blue Chuck-it ball precariously perched on a ledge at the bottom of a small ravine. That ball was (I suspect) strategically dropped there by a certain retriever, just to test how good MY retrieving skills were.

Sadie the retriever with beloved ball in mouth 🙂

But I didn’t fall for THAT trap…oh no, no! I knew better than to clamber down a steep and slippery embankment in the middle of the woods with no one around (other than Sadie) to pick up the pieces, should things happen to go awry.

So home we went.

But I had hung out with this particular retriever far too much to be able to actually forget about the ball. So when big brother came to visit two weeks later, I took him on the hike and showed him the ball (which, of course, was still on the ledge because who in their right mind would go down and get it?).

Big brother looked around and did a quick risk assessment. He shook his head. “Not worth it. Leave it there.”

But as I mentioned, I had hung out too long with a ball-obsessed retriever…and, apparently, had become one myself.

I shook my head. “I think I can do it,” I said, then told him my strategy.

He sighed and gave me the big brother look. But before embarking on my descent, I gave him a second orange & blue Chuck-it ball and told him to hold it in front of Sadie – but not give it to her. That way, she would remain with him and not follow me down.

So big brother did exactly as he was told and all went according to plan. Sadie stayed with him, her eyes unflinchingly fixed on the Chuck-it ball in his hand. I made it safely down the embankment, stepped over the creek, retrieved the ball, proudly put it in my back pocket…and then made a last-minute decision to go up that side of the riverbed – instead of stepping back over the creek and going back up the same side I came down.

All was going well until I reached out to grab onto a big rock – instead of the little tree – and the next thing I knew, the rock gave way and came crashing down onto my shin. Ouch! The rock was actually a large slab of shale that was just waiting for a good excuse to release itself from the dirt of the eroding riverbank. And along came the human retriever.

On the bridge above my head, big brother called out in alarm, “Googie, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I replied sheepishly, crawling up the embankment to the bridge. “But just out of curiosity, what did Sadie do when I fell?”

There was an awkward silence then: “Uh, nothing. She didn’t even blink. I knew this dog was ball-obsessed but I have never seen such intense focus. It’s extraordinary.”

It was also humbling. But at least I knew where I stood in relation to a Chuck-it ball 🙂

There were several morals to this story – the most obvious one being to never risk one’s safety for a silly $7 ball.

Another one might be…

If you are going to hold onto something for support, you better make sure it has roots. Click To Tweet

Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a co-founder of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.

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4 thoughts on “Hold Onto What Has ROOTS”

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing Maryanne. It’s great to hear how you’re doing and all about your adventures… it’s a female Pope trait which I really appreciate!

  2. Thanks, Les! Hope you guys are having a great summer & getting in lots of fun activities!

    See you soon,

  3. I love this post…so vivid…I almost felt like I was there. It makes me laugh how the chuck-it ball keeps making an appearance in your writing, hahah.

    And as for the morals of the story, I really like what you said about the roots. That actually really spoke to me today. Thank you. 🙂

  4. Glad the ‘hold on to that which has roots’ message resonated with you! I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, as well…particularly since I do seem to be rather rootless of late, moving here, there and everywhere. And yes, the chuck-it ball DOES seem to make a rather regular appearance in my writing…as it does in my life! Just yesterday I swear I saw a squashed orange chuck-it ball in the middle of the road. I didn’t think they could be squashed! I may have been seeing things 🙂
    Thanks so much for reading my blogs!

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