|Spirit house at a Tsuchone Center in|
In particular, there is a verse:
You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
The photo we took in August of the Alaskan Tsuchone Indian spirit house to the left is one way that they honored that belief, by putting an array of items and belongings that the person enjoyed and cherished while alive into the house, built above ground so that the spirit of the deceased would be pleased and happy in the hereafter.
While animism is deemed primitive, I say there are shades of that mystique alive and around us today. When my late Uncle Carl died, and I was selecting his casket and arranging the burial, I asked the undertaker to place some memorabilia into the casket, his old sling shot that Carl used from his porch to chase squirrels from the bird feeders, a cap for his WWII Army Unit, a pin from the VFW and firemen' s insignia. For my aunt it was a dust rag, no kidding because she was so very tidy and neat and clean as well as an old bracelet I ha given her as a child. I suppose it made me feel better, but I like to think their spirits appreciated the items.
Recently a friend in PA shared that one day she was graced with a very unexpected visitor, a stranger driving by slowed down, turned and came back by the house. When she stopped my friend, Pat, who was outside asked if she was lost and needed directions. No, but the woman was in PA visiting from MN where she too lives; she had grown up in Pat's house, the house Pat has owned for 40 years. Pat asked if she would like to come in and see the house and the woman accepted, thrilled. They had a wonderful visit that blessed them both and wove them together. The woman had not been there in over 40 years and shared some tales about growing up in the home. She may not return to that area again, but she left with great memories.
This story and Pat's gracious generosity demonstrate how outreaching to someone casually can bring joy. (Entertaining strangers unawares who turn out to be angels in disguise.) I so related to that woman, because I have been there. I was fortunate when selling Uncle Carl's home in PA that relatives of a longtime school friend bought it, are doing lovely work landscaping and did the few cosmetic fix ups inside that were needed. She sent me photos last year and said, "stop by" so gracious and really pleased me.
|My old PA home, hedges gone from along|
the side and back got this off Google.
Can't locate the ones I took of the house.
Wistful yet perhaps sometimes it is better not to look back but to keep memories of what was. That's what I learned in CA when we were back there visiting and the man who bought our former ranch invited us to come by. In that case, I would have been better off not to accept his invitation, my former gorgeous rose garden was filled with weeds and odd shrubs, the landscaping looked like a Sanford and Son junkyard. No, that sight was not one I needed to see.
The original owners who built our now home are elderly but live in this town and have been here to see what changes we made. They were thrilled that we love the house as much as they did. I remember LaVerne said, "part of me lives in those floors and walls.." Yes it is so. And we enjoy their stopping by which is infrequent because he is quite ill. We are blessed by all the stories they can share about living here and the efforts they put into this home. They in turn are pleased that we have it; he remembers my husband when Jerry was a little boy growing up here.
In PA my old home from the street does not look the same, he painted what was white always a murky dark foreboding grey. Planted a tree in the front yard; Mom's spirit must fuss because she was always sweeping away leaves that blew up the alley and stopped at the side door.
Yes, if walls could talk, the stories they could share.