Driving home this evening from pizza w/ Son and G/Son, while my beautiful DiL was at a meeting at G/Son's school, I finally felt it. The thinning of the veil. It won't be complete for another few weeks, but it's beginning. Perhaps it was waiting for our first blast of true Fall weather to usher it in. Whatever triggered it, it's here. You can feel it, smell it, almost see it, as the darkness comes earlier and earlier and as the acorns hitting the roof tap out a message from the Isle of Apples.
This is the time of year when I have conversations with my ancestors -- the farther back, the better. (No, really. If you knew my family, you'd agree. The farther back, the better. Some other poor witch, born centures from now, can try to hold a conversation w/ my parents. Blessings and good luck upon you, Dear Descendent. It will help if you can speak Crazy.) I talk about whatever's on my mind, what's worrying me, what I plan to do for the next year, what I think about the year now ending, about anything that I need to talk about. I talk, well, my rising sign is Gemini, so, I talk a lot. I have a lot to say.
Son once, as a v. little boy, maybe three years old, was fascinated with a National Geographic story about the Vikings. My mother told him, "The Vikings were your ancestors." Son asked what an "ancestor" was, and my mom explained that they were his relatives, but that he'd never meet them because they were already dead. It made Son inordinately sad. I've always found that, first, very endearing, and, second, very true, in the "larger truths" sense of the word.
Most of us do long to know that we are part of a line, part of a clan that transcends time, someone with, not only a past, but also, the possibility of a future. And, of course, we are, each of us, someone with a long, long line of ancestors stretching back to African Eve, each of us the result of a long line of people who, no matter what else they did, or failed to do, managed to survive and to pass their mitochondrial DNA, the cleft of their chins, some archetypes, and the will to live down, down, down, through the centuries, through the Ice Ages, and wars, and droughts, and cracking of ice walls leading to floods, and long migrations, all of it passed down to -- us.
To today's survivors. To the ones who will, one day, feasting in the Summerlands, drowsing on the Isle of Apples, notice the Veil getting thin and peer across to see someone who looks, and smells, and sounds . . . familiar, in the original sense of the word. Someone who seems insistent on reaching across the veil to touch our hand, hear our voice, get some kind of important message from us. When that time comes, may we be kind.
I'm reminded of one of my favorite passages, ever, from Ursula LeGuin. A woman importunes her ancestors for help. "Oh, it's That One. In trouble, again," the Ancestors chuckle to each other. It's what I imagine some Viking thrall saying to some settler from ancient Rus and to the barefoot old crone, the one who died lighting fires at the edge of the cave to keep the winter wolves away from the smell of placenta and mother's milk. "Oh, it's That One. In trouble, again."
Update: A point made in comments reminds me that I should have noted that I often talk to many-times-great aunts and uncles. I don't think that a lack of direct progeny prevents one from hearing calls through the veil once in the Summerlands. We're all