For seven generations…
I am the seventh generation to live in this state. In this part of the state of Indiana. Parts of my family have been in my or surrounding counties since before Indiana was a state. If seven generations mark a cycle, then my daughter and son-the eight generation-mark a new beginning.
I’ve thought a lot about what this means. Some of my ancestors were here before Europeans staked a claim on the land. I learned recently that my mother’s people, Grandma Mountain in particular, was of the Cherokee that were forcibly removed to the West. My father’s mother’s people were from the Cherokees of North Carolina. I couldn’t get more specific than that. The story is lost. Some of my ancestors fought in the American Revolution. Some of them hired Daniel Boone to bring them to this territory before it was a state. Before they came here, parts of my family were French Huguenots that re-settled in England. Parts of my family were Virginians fleeing a devastated South. That’s a lot of family karma. And, does it mean anything?
Does it mean something to come from a place with roots this deep? My husband and I have chosen to stay in this area, to raise our children here despite the temptation to be like many of our generation and take better paying jobs on the coasts. We have valued being near our families and friends, making a life of that values real things–real connections.
I feel deeply connected to this hilly, forested, rolling landscape–even naming my business Sheltering Hills Design. I belong here. My children belong here. We are of this land. I was raised close to the land by gardeners and skilled craftsmen. I expect that my children will be at least gardeners and skilled, even if they choose other careers.
I’m in awe of the beauty of my landscape, and upset by its abuse. The here I have inherited is as polluted and damaged (Indiana consistently ranks last in environmental quality) as it is beautiful. It is my home. The powers that be, the mechanistic minds and memes that have invaded the culture of this area extract the natural bounty of this landscape. Seven generations of use without the deep thought to plan for the future generations. What will this land look like in seven generations? Hoosiers have choices to make.
I am on the path to defend and begin restoring this landscape. I’m not going anywhere. I’m raising my children with the understanding of the challenges they face in life–and where those challenges came from. I am raising the next generation to be committed to this place, to work with others to create a permanent culture of place amidst these forests, roads, fields,quarries, coal mines, naval bases, universities, factories, rivers….to have the tools to make this place a whole and wholesome one. Better than we found it.