This summer, Mr. PNU is co-teaching a course on the probability of a technological singularity and the ethical considerations necessary to prepare for imminent artificial intelligence. I read the material, tag along, comment when I feel the need. But my summer obsession is FamilySearch.
He's correct, however, in that this Native American family line, through my father, my grandmother, my great-granddad, his birth-mother, Josie Vincent, his birth-father, John Adams, and John's mother, Almira, will not leave me alone. I come upon one fascinating bend after another, and all of it contains elements of the painfully traumatic. This trauma occurrence seems harrowingly multigenerational, but along with each of those agonizing events comes beautiful resilience. I catch myself in awe of everything these grandmothers and grandfathers endured. Strings of crisis. And possibly I, myself, wear some of this in a kind of genetic necklace. My own story parallels my ancestors' in haunting fashion. I relate to their pain and loss somewhere deep and molecular.
I am tangled up in mid-1800s birth records and census information from the Great Lakes region, trying to locate a lost birth-father—a great-great-great-grandfather, who may also be my great-great-great-grandmother's rapist. I am hunting through facets of her likely agony, wondering if it's time to get genetic testing done for myself and my living paternal grandmother in order to fill in the missing pieces.
In the meantime, my prayers for understanding of eternal life and resurrection are answered in images that bear endless repetition, or the fibonacci sequence, and I sense my place in time as a touchpoint for all instances both forward and back. I reflect on the fragility and wholeness of now, and the fullness of every breath past and future. The mind's eye explodes in visions of circles—a multiverse of pattern and possibility. All this comes into being, through me. Like an optative dream, their aorist voices echoing and reverberating into a future less vivid.
The effect is wonderment.
*Mr. PNU's rejection of a soul separate from the mind is another matter, another blog post entirely, but I hope the humor in this exchange isn't lost here.