Saturday, 8 October 2011

A First Nation Summer?

The first frost warning appeared on the Environment Canada web site this past week, and the temperatures have risen this weekend to a steamy (for October) 26 degrees Celsius. I guess this is, to use a politically-incorrect phrase, an Indian Summer.

Early this morning, I stood at the bus stop en route to this month's BIFHSGO meeting in a summer-weight cotton blouse, marveling at the warmth. A fellow in a reflective vest moved from public planter to public planter, methodically uprooting the scarlet hibiscus that have bloomed there all summer. He spent some time knocking the dirt off the roots into the large stone pot, then stuffed the bush into a large black garbage bag. I felt rather sad for the doomed plants, still glowing prettily from the dark plastic depths, so when I got home after the meeting, I showed Demeter a picture I'd taken last summer at the house-sit in Victoria, to make sure I had the correct name for the flower.

Yesterday, I heard from a cousin asking me about our family history. He seems to do this every year or so. Each time I hear from him, he has basically the same questions which I answer patiently each time. He always seems to ask in October. His dad's 77th birthday is next week and they haven't spoken in years; his younger son has never met his paternal grandfather. I send a link to my family history map of Wales and a copy of a 116-year time line I did for my mother, but he really wants to look at a family tree chart, to see the names and how they connect to him and his sons. That's what we try to do in family history, to find where we fit, where we belong, and to say to those shadowy figures in the past, "I know your name; you belong, too." I send my cousin a link to my online tree where he can gaze at charts to his heart's content.

I know your name; you are not forgotten.

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