I think of my ancestors as real people doing real activities in lifetimes years before mine. I am continually trying to find connections to them. I search for documents to verify their existences on earth. I look for gravestones and homes and any number of other ways to connect to them. But perhaps even more than those, I try to find connections between the lives they lived and my own life. What do we share? What activities are alike in our lives? What emotions have we all felt? Family historians refer to the blood in their veins being the same blood that flowed in the veins of their ancestors. True or not, I want something more.
I sew as did many of my foremothers and I sew on my mother's sewing machine, which is exactly the same. But what about the rest of my ancestors? I grow flowers as one of my grandmothers did, but not the same flowers. I dust and clean and cook and iron, but not with the same equipment, or food, or pots. I walk on the same earth they walked on, but the ground beneath my feet is not exactly the same as the ground they walked on. Dirt moves around all the time. Even the sidewalks and driveways, should I go to a place where they lived, would not be exactly the same. They probably lived with ash and honey locust and maple trees nearby, but not the same ones I have in my yard.
The answer came this week: the sun that shines on me is the very same sun that rose when every one of my ancestors lived. Its glow may be less bright now than when they were on the earth but it is the very same sun. I'm satisfied now. Every day of my life I have some connection to my ancestors who lived before me. We share the sun.