The spirit, she says is an enlivening energy, like fire, giving us an animating energy.
The South nourished my soul. I am of the red clays, ‘guvinmint pines’, the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers. My fathers people lived many generations in South Georgia before me. For nearly sixty years, I stayed put in middle Georgia. If not exactly content, I was at least fully connected to the place I inhabited.
My mother’s people came to Virginia before the revolution, moved west to Kentucky and south to Mississippi. It seems they moved nearly every generation somewhere new.
Nearing sixty, my spirit warbled in and out of Blessed Unrest. Like my wandering lineage, I relocated. The repression of spirit from the stifling south became suddenly intolerable. It might horrify Mama for me to link her pioneering family to me leaving the South. She, at ninety when I left, is staying put and surviving these last years right where she is at and how she is accustomed. It seems the safest course of action. She traveled the world over the span of her life and saw what she wanted to see. Mama danced her way through elderhood. Now she is determined to dance sedately to her grave with a bit of flare, but not hogging any attention. It would be unseemly.
In the south, one ought to conform. Ought and should are like commandments from the culture gods and goddesses. My mama serves this pantheon.
My father did not. He comes from a gnarled line of first cousins who married. The fathers of these cousins were brothers. These brothers, one named Lemon, went out to fight the civil war together. When they returned and had families; their children, Josephine and Henry married. Henry was a preacher. He reportedly was psychic. My grandfather spent long hours storytelling of his life and thirteen siblings. We often looked at their names in the family Bible.
The stories I remember have to do with the uncanny connections my great grandfather, Henry had to knowing and speaking of what was to come. A prophet of sorts — I’m sure the South Georgia Methodist sort. He honed to an art, a relationship with God and messages he received of divine nature. I can relate.
My grandfather, Pop, born in 1900, told me of his eleven year old self who as the eldest dropped out of school to sell, vegetables from the family garden. This because his father died of acute indigestion after preaching his heart out at a revival.
Pop lost his eye at a fertilizer plant at age twenty. (Something his father foretold.) Pop went on to become a regional manager of this fertilizer company, an industry which took off in his lifetime. He was very proud to be able to produce huge quantities of food with his product, and thought it would be the salvation of the world. We now know it was killing living soil and was the birthing of Monsanto Chemical Food Era.
These are stories bubbling up as I connect to the reasons my spirit was not thriving in the deep South. Death of spirit continued, even as my soul grew more grounded. This stifling of spirit drove me away.
Curses from my mother about how I could not survive anywhere but the south rang in my ears as I determinedly packed my bags and left four years ago.
My spirit has come back to life in the Pacific Northwest. I garden as if my life and others depend on it (side note- they don’t, but I swear it’s the intent.) My soul delights, dancing with with Spirits among these new horizons of volcanos, mountains, rivers, and ancient trees. The wildness of this valley, her rivers, vortexes of swirling energy create a constant interplay of soul and spirit. I ground in the garden dirt, orchard shade, rushing streams and ancient lava flows. My spirit soars with the osprey, taps a rhythm with woodpeckers, sweeps the woods with raven magic. Coyotes practice their medicine. Turkeys and deer roam.
This magical existence is medicine. It is life co created by soul and spirit. I give thanks to the ancient ones, the creator, the water, the four legged, the fish, the winged ones. The plants, foods and medicines. The tree people. North South East and West. To the winds and to Thunder. To the Star People, Grandmother Moon and Father Son. To Pachamama, our mama, the great Earth wisdom animating our souls I greet you and thank you. May our minds be one.