Picking the story up from the tiny house I imagined was like one my great, great grandfather might have lived in... I continue on to the next Megalith on my map.
So far this day, I hit a light post, I traveled along insanely narrow roads with all the inherent dangers of being in a foreign country and driving on the opposite side of the road. I mucked through a giant field, stood in the same space as my Neolithic ancestors - amongst stones they erected 5000+ years ago. I made my way to a local store, yacked it up with one of the locals, who very kindly made me coffee and a sandwich. I discovered a castle and then a giant creche in the middle of the road and then, yes, the tiny house with its counterpart - the Lord's manor across the street.
I'm off again and it starts to pour. Thankfully my google maps keeps me on track as I cover more terrain. As usual the going is slow so I'm able to take in details of the landscape around me. Stone walls continue to flank the sides of the road. This reminds me of New England, where I grew up. And upstate New York. I think about what the walls represent. I think about the land and its willingness to succumb to agriculture. Or rather its unwillingness. As someone who has done a lot of gardening, I know that one comb through the soil, clearing it of stones is never the last. All season long, the upturned soil settles and finds its way under and between the spaces below that were once solidly packed. Each time it rains or the loose soil is watered, stones that were once sealed in a tangle of roots, will now make their way to the surface. I would dutifully oblige their call to be cast aside, so tender shoots of new growth could thrive unimpeded. They were tossed into the woods or more likely into a pile along the side of the garden. A miniature stone wall. I can't help but envision how much effort it took to move the larger stones that now make up walls along the edge of a field. Some walls are neatly attended and carefully constructed but more are strewn piles, accumulated over time, in an exhaustive effort to force sustenance from the soil. And what is with all the spiky stones on the tops of the older walls, especially in the areas around large estates? Shards stood on end as ... a deterrent? The first defense against angry (hungry) neighbors whose land you've acquired?
Speaking of being hungry... As I drove towards my next destination, I notice a big stone in an intersection ahead of me. Curious, I slowed to read it. A sign read, "Great Famine, 1845-1847. Site of Soup House." Soup houses were started by the government to feed the starving... 2 years after the blight of the potatoes, two years of starvation, 1 million people dead, 1 million fled, leaving family and this beautiful, brutal landscape behind. This loss is out of a population of 8 million people, 1/4 of the population.
The soup houses were kept open for two months and then closed. After long delays in sending help, the government decided that maybe the next crop of potatoes would be ok and the folks starving in the countryside didn't need their help after all. This struck a nerve.
These are the stories I've been told. They revolve around the idea of loss and oppression, of fleeing Ireland, of survival. Trauma now took the form of a sign on the side of a road. Research shows that trauma is passed on genetically. For how long; how many generations? What if the stories continue, what effect does that have on future generations? What to do with it? That was my mission over the next few weeks. I will be creating a pathway between the past and present, using ceremony, intention and herbs to heal what is left in my genes and the genes of my offspring. Here are some links to research on genetically transmitted trauma/fear.
People are now studying how to best treat the ambiguous loss that comes with immigration and the myth of closure. I found this interview with Paulina Boss interesting.