The ancient ones

Day 127

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

If you drive as far South as you can go in Florida,

you’ll come to a place where the water meets the land.

In that place, you will be closer to Cuba

than the nearest Wal-Mart. As the locals will proudly point out.

Wil’s grandfather came from Cuba,

was 2 grades under Fidel Castro in school,

took to the seas with the Merchant Marines when he was a young man,

and eventually washed up on the shores of America.

But before he left, there was already rebellion,

gatherings and protests on the college campus,

a growing unrest in the air.

My Grandfather was born in the Ukraine.

His parents were farmers.

He met my grandmother after escaping from a Nazi work camp.

She was beautiful, with a deep and mysterious scar from bomb shrapnel on her leg,

that fascinated me as a child.

My great grandmother lost a child, my grandmother’s littlest brother.

a boy, about the same age my boy is now.

He was cute, we have a grainy black and white,

showing his round cheeks, her mother’s love.

They didn’t have much food, times were hard,

he became sick, and died.

It stunned me, this fact about my great grandmother, when I found out.

Already old when I knew her,

she spoke Russian and French,

smoked cigarettes,

rode the bus to visit us, and brought us olives.

She was loving. She was spirited, she was alive!

How? How did she live through the loss of that smiling boy?

Go on to immigrate to Canada,

raise my grandmother,

raise my mother,

visit us.

What strange lives the Old Ones have lived,

what secrets they hold in their hearts,

carry in their long memories.

What toughness they have,

strengths I cannot know,

have not yet earned,

in my short life.

Blessings to the ancestors,

and thanks.

I welcome your guidance,

pray for it in dreams.

I am listening.

Thank YOU for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


One response to “The ancient ones

  1. every post is a thought prompt, writing prompt, memory prompt. each one brings a different question, a different comfort. more than you know, this project speaks. thank you for this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s