I learned that before I was born I had livedin men who were steady and firm, lords of themselves,and none could respond and all remained calm. — Cesare Pavese
This work of finding people, stories – the ones written on pages of crackling, antiquated paper and the ones that linger like anxious school children hoping that soft-handed woman will tussle their heads . .
It feels like I have found what I was made for.
I reach back into history – mine, yours, ours – and pinch facts and dates, names and ages from the sky. My ancestor Emanuel and her grandmother Annie. A map of a land plat that borders another, the etched-out clue of a kinship, a friendship. The word “blacksmith” on a census. All sparkling fragments of stories undone by time . . . ready to be rewoven into the stories of a now, the stories of us.
This writing life, this place where ancestors become more real than the neighbors I almost never see, this practice that makes my desk holy and the candle I light behind my silver laptop sacred. I would not trade it.
For here, I find the strength of generations, and the community of time. . . in men and women gone before . . . and who breathe with gray-gold breath into us even now.
What is sacred to you about your work?