Day 12 of The Year
I had a visit the other night from my grandmothers. More specifically, a dream about Wil’s late, paternal grandmother and my late, paternal grandmother. Wil was in the dream, and a number of other family members from both sides, mine and his.
In the dream we were all shopping in some large store- my impression was that it was Wal-Mart. My grandmother was very sick, near death. And we were there buying supplies for a party celebrating her life. Like a living memorial. But no one was sad! Not even my grandmother, whose death was apparently very near. The dream was lovely, very comforting, and felt extremely real.
A lot of really wonderful things have happened in our lives since the beginning of this project. And coming from an old world Russian family (on my mom’s side) means I have a fairly well developed superstitious side. A dream visit from the ancestors + good fortune = you better find a way to say “thanks” to the spirits.
So I had this nagging feeling that I needed to make a visit to Wil’s grandmother’s burial place, and leave her some flowers. But it’s a little too far for me to drive with the baby (he hates the car), and it’s a little bit out of the way( the other end of town) and it just wasn’t happening. But I kept having the nagging feeling, like the feeling you get when you want a cigarette ( I’m an ex-smoker, but you never forget that feeling, am I right other ex-smokers?)
But then I thought, well I really need to do this and it’s not happening. Maybe I should just gather a bunch of flowers, and place them somewhere else, because the intent is the same, and who knows how this whole spirit thing works anyways. Maybe at least she’ll get the message.
So that felt right, and this afternoon I tucked Revel into his stroller with some yummy snacks and we went out walking, gathering flowers along the way. Purple, red, white. Butterfly Bush blooms for my grandmother, mums and asters for Wil’s.
And before long we ended up at the pretty little cemetery at the edge of our neighborhood.
I figured maybe I’d place my offering at an empty headstone, one that didn’t have any decorations but maybe needed some.
But then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a big old tom cat just lickin’ his paws on the edge of the cornfield, and I knew that was the spot.
The cornfield rustled in the breeze and caught my attention. Big, huge GMO corn, nothing growing between the rows, everything poisoned and dead nearby, except the corn, whose laboratory frankenstein genes made it immune to the chemicals.
I thought of the poor corn, genes all scrambled up and domesticated, chemicals built right into it’s seeds.
And I thought of the generations of corn that came before, running right back through the years to the corn’s wild ancestor Teosinte.
And I thought of all the families corn has fed through all the years. And all the animals too.
And I thought of the men and women who carefully and lovingly cultivated corn through all the generations. The ones who saved the seeds in pouches close to their hearts, under their shirts despite trails of tears, over mountains, through wars and genocides.
I thought of the ones who sang to the corn, sprouted it, watered it, believed in it.
And I thought how their hearts would be broken if they could know about the poison corn. How they could never understand why anyone would make a wild thing caged. How people could make something so good into something so bad, only for profit, greed and control.
I laid the flowers I picked as an offering on the ground at the foot of the cornfield. And Revel and I hummed a little tune, and he laughed, and clapped his hands, and we went on with our walk.
This one is for the Grandmothers.
I love you.
Please forgive me.
Thank you for listening.