Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Thin Edge

I talk a lot about a meeting place I go to, where I meet my ancestors, where I breathe into the space between the edge of my skin and the air. That's a physical visualization I use as a tool to literally slip into that space whenever I have need, wherever I am. And it works.

I don't just use it there. Everything has edges, whether diffuse or dense. And there is space between that edge and the next one.

Right now, my legs are covered in skin grafts, from hip to ankle. They are in various stages of healing due to multiple surgeries. They feel like my legs, but they sure as hell don't look like my legs. The shape of them is different. But they are my legs.

It's enough to make me cry, to ride that line of deciding whether or not to give into all the fears around my accident and freak, or accept that I am changed, but I am alive. It's not a hard choice. But I still have help.

There is this patch of skin above my right knee that is healed. It looks like normal skin. It feels like normal skin. But it's new. The sensation of my fingers against it is so crisp it almost hurts. Because it's never been touched before. Not there. Not where it is.

My skin is not my own. And yet it is. And somewhere, in the space between, is the truth. And I find it unsettling.

Still, I choose to fall into the wonder of this healing process, of the experience of feeling touch again, for the first time. I choose joy in the days that lay ahead of me, without coloring that joy in fear or pain. Sure there are still dark days to come, but there are days to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Winter Ritual

I place a cup on stone.

I honor the lines of my parents, of Eaton and Riddle.

I pour water into a cup.

I honor the lines of my grandparents, of Eaton and Ruston, of Riddle and Art.

I pour water into a cup.

I honor the lines of my great-grandparents, of Eaton and Smith, of Ruston and Wicker, of Riddle and Durant, of Art and Burke.

I pour water into a cup.

I honor the lines of my two-times great-grandparents, of Eaton and Tenney, of Smith and Dutcher, of Ruston and Ireland, of Wicker and Whitcher, of Riddle and Gillett, of Durant and Burnah, of Art and Pils, of Burke and Conners.

I pour water into a cup.

I honor the lines of my three-times great-grandparents, of Eaton and Treadwell, of Tenney and Targee, of Smith and Sears, of Dutcher and Bird, of Ruston and Richardson, of Ireland and Lenton, of Wicker and Lusk, of Whitcher and De Lozier, of Riddle and Clickner, of Gillett and Berry, of Durant and Lavalley, of Burnah and (possibly) Fortin, of Art and Blume, of Pils and Burzee, of Burke, of Conners and Dowd.

I light a candle and watch the flame flicker to life. I call to my ancestors. I ask them to watch over me as I heal. I ask them to watch over my dreams as I sleep.

I pour water onto the earth, emptying the cup in offering.

May it be so.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How We Meet Our Challenges

I’m not special in my suffering. It’s one of the things I know I have in common with my ancestors. At some point, the universe has delivered us all difficult challenges.

My 10x great-grandmother Mary Chilton found herself orphaned in the new world at the age of 12 when both of her parents died the first winter. My 3x great-grandparents Bailey Harrison Whitcher and Ordelia Lozier lost two sons to the Civil War, a heartache I cannot imagine. My great-grandmother Hattie Eva Smith, had to go to work at the age of forty-eight after her husband died, due to his pre-existing condition that meant the government didn’t have to pay on his pension.

And I got burnt. Pretty f’ing badly.

It didn’t happen for a reason. No one was punishing me. It was no one’s fault. Just a freak accident.

My ancestress Mary toughed out the first few years at Plymouth under the care of another family until her older siblings crossed over. She made the new world her home. Bailey and Ordelia moved on, as much as any family can. And great-grandma Hattie worked as a nurse until she died.

And I’m going to walk.

I could let the pain and sadness swallow me. Or I could let the joy at breathing and opening my eyes every day wash over me. I choose happiness and love, which I hold onto on dark days, for their are plenty of those.

Would you confront a nightmare with more darkness?

I light candles on my ancestor altar and I call on their strength. Whether the answer comes carried to me on the winds or is borne from deep within me, I feel them, walking with me. I am not alone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


We are more than the skins we wear, and yet we are still these bodies we were born into. We're attached to them in both like and dislike.

The fire burned away bits and bunches of my flesh. Was I too far gone? Was their too much lost? How much flesh can you lose and survive? But medicine is miraculous and the doctors harvested healthy tissue from my back, torso, and even my left foot. They used it to grow more...

What skin was saved from the fire saved me, pieced together over both of my legs. A new sheath.

I am not the same person I was, and my skin bears witness to the change.

It took seven procedures to complete the grafting. They used cadaver flesh to fill in the negative space while fixing me. The flesh of the dead helped heal me. Those dead had families and loved ones. I feel such gratitude for the lives lost that enabled my rescue.

I light candles and leave offerings to their spirits, and those of their ancestors.

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