The Presence of the Ancestors

Today is a chilly, dark, wet early November day, election day in the U.S.. The rains came mid-morning, soaking the leaves that had fallen in the showers and high winds of recent days. While many trees stand bare, there are still pockets of intense color spread here and there across the landscape.

Jennie put the garlic into its garden bed last week, covered it in straw, and encouraged it to settle into a deep winter sleep. Today we added compost to the other beds and swept the yard temporarily free of leaves. Now the breeze and rain are quickly spreading a new golden carpet across the grass and garden.

Friday evening a few of us gathered to remember and honor the ancestors, and to try to put our own lives in perspective. We shared stories about, and the foods of, our more immediate ancestors, and sat with the ancestors in the soft candle lit evening.

We had conversations about how we live in a time seemingly without root or context. Even as innumerable people visit ancestry research sites or take DNA tests, we collectively struggle to remember that the ancestors are more than names and genes, and that we are richer and more complex than any description we might imagine for ourselves.

We spoke about how we have been seduced into thinking too narrowly about who is an ancestor, just as we have been encouraged to be overly narrow in our understanding of who is a neighbor. Surely, were we to think and feel deeply into who may have dreamed us into being, we would find ourselves including all beings, human and non, who traveled this Earth before us. If we were to delve into the richness of our roots, we would conclude that all beings are our family.

Sadly, this election day is rife with encouragement to forget the very oneness that might bring us solace and peace. We are told that migrants are evil, even as our collective actions force innumerable people to undertake perilous journeys from their homes. We are encouraged to pretend we can create identity by demonizing others and find safety through building ever higher walls, and we are told to fear our own knowing, the deep sense that assures us that all of Creation is alive within us.

In spite of this, we are reminded in our dreams and longings that we are each more than we can possibly know, and that Creation is ongoing within and around us. Surely the teachings of hatred that divide us must give way to a more profound, life-giving knowing and way of being together.

 

 

 

 

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