We don’t realize it when it is happening and it seems to take a full, large circle for our beginnings to come around to who we become. Each morning I sit and do my morning mediation in front of a sliding glass door looking out. Over the years it has been many different doors out onto many different views but I’ve come to realize the connection I feel with what is outside that door, nature, goes back to my childhood home.
It sits empty now, high on a hill in Western Maryland, last house up a dirt road. Woods surrounding it on three sides… woods filled with hickory nut trees, black walnut trees, pine trees my father and I planted what seems 100 years ago. There are blueberry bushes, peach trees, cherry trees, grape harbors and wild black berries scattered about the yard. There is even a weeping willow I planted about 30 years ago. Now only a few flowers bloom but once flowers grew everywhere. They were lovingly tended first by my grandmother, my Aunt, my Mother, and finally me.
I sold the house to the neighbors about 25 years ago because I wanted to get out of the back woods of Western Maryland and see the world… which I have and am. Yet, in the soul of me remains that house and the connection to that house. The life I lived there, the people who raised me, the energy of three generations of Brinegars in that house still calls me.
My Aunt Ruth, who owned the house that my parents and I lived in with her, was a vegetarian. That was in the 1960s… I think before there was even a name for it. Even though my aunt went to a Methodist Church, I realize now her soul was Celtic. My grandmother, my Aunt Ruth and my Father’s mother, was Welsh. Her parents had been born in Wales and she carried the ‘old relgion’ on from them. My grandmother, Clarinda, did not have any of her 7 children baptized and did not join in any organized religion just to fit in. As a matter of fact, she fought it, passively, but fought it none the less. There is the story of when her husband, my paternal Grandfather, was a Free Mason and he wanted her to join the Eastern Star. She did not wish to be a part of it, any part of it, she did not “believe” as they did. My Grandfather insisted and 80 years or so ago a wife did want her husband asked. So, she “joined”, not willingly. So, on the evening of her initiation into the Eastern Star she sat through the process. At the end, she was told, “Now, Clarinda, you know you can’t tell anybody what went on here tonight, right?” She looked at them with her green eyes and without expression replied, “Don’t worry, I won’t. I’m just as ashamed of it as you are.” Needless to say, that was the end of her membership in the Eastern Star and my Grandfather never insisted she do anything against her will again!
My young life was of free will I believe of Clarinda and how she raised her children. Her only daughter, my Aunt Ruth, of seven children and her youngest son, my father, were free spirits. My aunt loved the earth teaching me to love it as well. I can remember being a pre-teen and working in the flower garden with my aunt. She took the rich, sweet soul of our garden and placed it in my hand closing my fingers over it. She told me to feel the connection, the energy, the goodness of that hand full of dirt. She looked me in the eyes with her green eyes and told me to care for it because it is what gives us life. That is what we as a society has lost I’m afraid. We have replaced that love and respect of this beautiful home of ours with an invisible, money hungry non-existent god in the sky.