Remembering Our Ancestors

Tomorrow is Halloween and I am thinking about the idea of the thinning veil between the world of the living and the dead. Being a Pagan Humanist, I am not sure that other world exists; however, I can’t disregard the idea that I am somehow influenced by its mythology. Seven years ago, my grandfather died. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about him. A good friend of mine is Druid and I admire the way she has a place on her alter to remember her ancestors. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the rituals with her grove. I was moved by the way they incorporated offerings to their ancestors in their ritual. It seems to me a good way to maintain a relationship with those who have passed.

I find that I am still working out the relationship that I had with my grandfather. He was complicated but simple, full of rules and tender, driven yet could attend in silence. He was a good man and he loved me very much. I am surprised at how I arrive at things from our relationship. I have had many dreams I call “The House Dreams” that I know are about him.  My latest pondering is in the form of a poem.

That troubled Summer
when I was 12,
unable to talk,
I joined my grandfather on the job site.
He hauled a truck full of tools,
I, a tennis racquet.
Not a hammer or saw,
but it got the job done.

Late in the day,
we sat in the truck,
on a blanket that smelled of gasoline,
and sipped hot black coffee
from his green dented thermos.
Shared the silence.

A boy my age
would have been put to work.
But I hit tennis balls
against a crumbling wall
until it came down
and another
went up in its place.

I wish you all a Happy Halloween, and I hope that you have an opportunity, in your own way, to engage in relationship with your ancestors.

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