Know Me

 

14390860_10208194658723180_2202102595313510686_n(painting is a watercolor I did long ago)

 

When you understand wind

where she blows

why she blows

how she blows

 

when you understand flowers

their need for light

why they stretch

 

when you understand earth

when she moves

why she moves

how she moves

 

when you understand

the ways of bats

why they must hang

 

when you understand water

where she flows

why she flows

how she flows

 

the methods of spiders

what makes them spin

their appetite for flies

 

when you understand colors

where they are

what they are

why they are

 

the flight

of hummingbirds

how they alone fly backwards

 

when you understand fire

how it is

what it is

why it is

 

the feel of cool grass

on bare feet

 

when you understand spirit songs

of the ancestors

how they call

raise me

from simplicity

to simplicity

to oneness

 

then

you begin

to know me.

Inside Out

KODAK Digital Still Camera

 

My energy is not

from others

not from things I do

 

it is

a fueling light

emanating from

 

moments spent

walking barefoot

in fields

 

watching

orange fish

dart under cattails

 

from flint

unearthed

in soybean patches

 

it is

from late night hours

spent crying

 

“Creator

Here I am

Make me.”

The Master’s Secret

I am more than fog

melted by

mid-morning sun–

more than smoke

scattered by wind

dwindled by time–

more than a footprint

left on a beach

washed away by tides–

I am a song played

on eternal strings,

sounding endlessly

through halls

of forever.

 

Note: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)

“The secrets of the master are not found in his ashes, but rather in the flame he ignites in others.” Master Rick Pickens (He may have gotten it from somewhere else but I heard it from him.)

 

Country Bumpkin

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A friend calls me Country Bumpkin. I don’t mind. I find the most simple things in this world are also the most complex and far-reaching. I have a need to be surrounded by those complex simplicities. I do my best thinking when I’m alone, surrounded by nature. That’s when I have my epiphanies, my eureka-sparks, my moments of brilliance (okay, well, they’re brilliant to me.)

I need to touch the earth, to feel the sun on my face and the wind on my lips. I need the smell of soil and the sounds of birds. I need dragonflies and butterflies and tiny garden snakes. I need crickets and snails and random centipedes. I need to see the stars at night and wonder at the moon. I need the magic of trees. I need the sound of rain falling on the leaves and scent of a wet woodland floor, spring peepers and fire-flies.

When I am surrounded by the natural world, it doesn’t matter what I look like or sound like. It doesn’t matter what accomplishments I’ve made or failures I’ve experienced. All that matters is that I make like a flower, grow, bloom and produce some sort of seed for future flowers to grow, so that there will always be flowers on the earth. A seed can be an idea, an invention, an investment into the lives of others. A seed can be a song, a poem, a book. A seed can be a simple act of kindness. Flowers don’t compare themselves to other flowers. They just grow and bloom, according to whatever kind of plants they are.

 

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Wildwood Flower

CSC_0143When I was a little girl

Daddy played guitar

sang off-key

to me, he was a star.

He’d sing

Mary Don’t you Weep

There’s an Unclouded Day

Be Careful of the Stones You Throw

and Jesus is the Way.

But my favorite song of the hour

was when he’d sing

The  Wildwood Flower.

Then he’d stop and say,

“You’re my wildwood flower

bloom where God plans

I’ll be watching over you

but our lives-

are in His hands.”

Years came and went

my  little girl days were spent

roaming woods

skipping rocks

climbing trees.

There never was a time

I wasn’t free.

I suppose we don’t know

what we’ve got until it’s gone.

We forget life is as fragile as a weed

I held my daddy’s hand

as I squatted on my knees

The man who sang to me

was a flower all along.

For as long as I live

I’ll be listening to his songs,

Mary Don’t you Weep and

There’s an Unclouded Day

Be Careful of the Stones you Throw

And Jesus is the Way.

But my favorite song of the hour

Was when he’d sing

The  Wildwood Flower

Then he’d stop and say,

“You’re my wildwood flower

blooming where God plans

I’m always watching you

but our lives-

are in God’s hands

 

My People, My Spirit

101_3543.jpg

I went out, hoe in hand

to tend my garden

beside the clothesline.

 

Blade to soil,

I uncovered a deer

buried in pieces

hacked apart

never to be found.

 

 Yet—

there he was

mutilated,

scattered,

obscured

but his blood

still ran–Red.

 

 I looked at the clothes

hanging on that line,

the ones I had not yet worn,

even though they were mine

his blood spotted them.

 

I felt his pain

from being ripped asunder

from being lost in time

covered by layers of dirt

like pottery shards.

Devastated. Grieved.

I wept.

 

Wars had severed him

Disease had killed him

Politics had buried him

 

His demise had been

deliberate

His enforced mutism

premeditated

 

Same blood that spotted my clothes

pierced my heart.

Separated by years and lies

we were one.

 

A voice called

from a distant place.

His mother.

Deer body,

Earth Spirit.

Her love was strong

her medicine great.

He came together.

He stood.

 

Another voice called,

from the sky, a beam of light

came down, Great Spirit,

his Father, and this voice

brought life

transformation.

The deer became a boy.

He breathed. He lived.

He walked toward

his mother

his father

and my soul

walked with him.

Samo…Say What? Musings on a Melungeon’s DNA Results

I’ve grown up, like many Southerners and Appalachians, being told I was Native American. There was no myth of a “Cherokee princess” in my family, on either side. That was NEVER our story. Our story was one of a people who had gone underground to hide their true identities and it came through my grandma, Sally Rogers Franklin (Pabilo).  My other Granny always told me that she had “Indian” ancestry but she didn’t believe it was Cherokee.  The term Blackfoot got tossed around a lot, but I couldn’t figure that one because I learned in school that Blackfoot lived far away from here, like up in Montana. Later, I discovered that her family origins were intertwined with Melungeons, who are intertwined with the Eastern Siouan tribes.

No automatic alt text available. The tall man in the hat is my maternal grandfather. He had strong British lines. The lady in pink is my maternal grandmother. She was descended from Wallens, Collins [of Hawkins County, TN), Leaches, Sizemores, Gibsons and others who go back to Russell, Clinton and Wayne Counties and even future back to Tennesee and North Carolina. Granny’s family had several Melungeon lines that seemed to culminate when her parents married.  The man in white is my dad and my mom is partially out of the photo. 

As some of you know, this past summer I had an autosomal DNA test done, but unlike some people, I couldn’t just take it at face value and simply say I was such and such a percentage of this and that and then let it go. I knew genetics had to be more complicated than that, so I did what I always do, dug deeper. I was introduced to GEDmatch.com, which is a  cool site that lets you break down DNA results. It’s a bit technical but to me, it’s worth the challenge to uncover more than just the “estimation” that you get with your DNA results. It could be a genealogist’s dear friend.

Now, like most folks whose family has lived in the Southeastern U.S. since before George Washington first soiled his diapers, I had a big old chunk of British Isles. 45% at first glance, but the percentages from AncestryDNA and 23andMe are only estimations and there is a wide range that allows the percentage to possibly be a lot more or a lot less. But for now, let’s just leave roughly half my DNA with the British Isles and talk about the rest of me, that other 55%, give or take a few numbers, depending on which company you ask and what calculator you use.

I did not get a report back from a genetic testing company saying, “You are ____% (specific kind) of Native American.” Wouldn’t that be nice? But that’s not the way your results come back from AncestryDNA or 23andMe. But what you do get that’s cool is your raw data which you can take to a third party calculator. Please remember that so far the DNA companies are HEAVILY weighted toward European results and it doesn’t break it down by ethnic group, only by regions. My 23andMe did show a small percentage of Native American DNA, but not as much as it should have been according to my paper documentation. Also, remember that the absence of evidence is NOT the evidence of absence. For example, if your documented family history shows that your great-great-grandmother was Samoan but your DNA test doesn’t show Somoan, that doesn’t mean you’re not of Samoan descent or that you don’t have a Samoan heritage. It just means that your DNA doesn’t show it. It also means you might have inherited a different 50% of the Somoan descended parent’s DNA. Do you still have the right to claim Samoan heritage and be a part of the culture that your parent was a part of? Sure you do.

So, I sat down and asked myself, “What do I KNOW about my heritage?” Well, I know that maternal grandfather’s family was mostly the British Isles and her neighbor, Normandy. So, I should expect at least 45% percent British Isles because they’re scattered throughout every family line and on every side of any family who has been in Appalachia as long as mine has. I know that my father’s maternal ancestors were English on one side and on the other side were documented French/German-Moravians who lived among the Cherokee and traveled here along with soldiers who had been sent to guard Moravian Town and that the soldiers belonged to the Rogers family and that some of them are documented as having Cherokee wives.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, child and outdoorMy very handsome father. Image may contain: 1 person, closeupMy gorgeous and camera-shy mother.

I know that my dad’s paternal grandmother is listed in the 1900 censuses as being mulatto and that she changed her name four times. I know that my paternal great-great-grandfather came from Gila River. I know that he called himself a Spanish Indian. I know that my mother’s mother’s family dates back to known Melungeon families on at least three sides. So, what should I expect to see in my DNA beyond the obvious British Isles? Well, I should expect to see some Iberian, maybe some Mediterranean, maybe some Scandinavian (Normandy was populated by Scandanavians) and possibly some African and I should expect to see some Native American, right? Well, I did see all of these things in varying percentages, but when I dug deeper, I saw much more and that’s when things got fascinating.

Image may contain: 1 personMy Iberian/Native American great-great-grandfather.No automatic alt text available.My Paternal Grandparents. Sorry, it’s hard to see. My grandfather is the one holding the child and my grandmother, Sally Rogers, is the one in white socks. They didn’t have a lot of photos made. The two dressed funny are my uncles. I think it was Halloween or something and they dressed up silly for the photo. T

Let’s get back to the GEDmatch.com site.  Now, it’s true that different calculators will give you different results because they’re geared toward finding different things and they will  each give you different percentages, but I’m not looking for iron-clad percentages, I’m looking for a continuity of population references that consistently turn up and lend clues to an overall bigger picture; some of those that keep turning up for me, which made me start asking questions are: Samoyedic, Melanesian, Austronesian, Arctic_Amerindian (specifically Inuit and Beringian), Altaic (Indo-Tibetan), Amerindian, Meso-American Indian (sometimes shows up), and South-American Indian. Now, granted, each one of these is in small doses, individually, but when added together do they indicate something else? My first response was Samo-what? So, I began to research and found out about these awesome folks who have made the Russian Tundra their home.

(Isn’t this family beautiful?)

Then I wanted to know how an Appalachian Foothills gal, like me, with absolutely no recorded origins in Siberia could possibly have Samoyedic DNA?

And what about the Melanesian and Austronesian? How could I have THAT?! And let’s not forget the traces of Meso-American and South American, specifically a group of people called Botocudo (Oceanic people)?  To answer my questions, I’ve been researching.

Melanesian Child (I just think this little guy is adorable) www. quora.com

Austronesian Girl (wn.com)

Botocuda, Native Brazilian.

Let’s tie it all together with a link to some interesting articles.

https://dna-explained.com/2015/07/22/some-native-americans-had-oceanic-ancestors/

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-native-american-origins-dna-20150721-story.html

http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/siberian-genetics-native-americans-and-the-altai-connection

So, it appears that all these references to Melanesian, Austronesian, Siberian, Altaic (Ind0-Tibetan) and Oceanic are just further indicators that my family’s stories about Native American heritage are true and that my documented familial lines are on the right track. One thing that was surprising to me was that I had a slice of India show up in my chromosome paintings on Gedmatch and in some of the calculators. Now, knowing which calculator to use is a whole other post! In addition to the slice of India/Pakistan showing up, there were strong indications of significant heritage from Eastern Europe (again, when does it become Western Asia?) I don’t think the India/Eastern Europe (mine seems to center around present-day Checkosovalkia, Hungary, Western Russia and Romania) thing is related to being Native American or Melungeon, but I do know that the British Isles and other European countries sent their Gypsies to the New World to get rid of them so that is a possibility.

Then again, it could be that my father’s Moravian ancestors actually were from Moravia first before ending up in France and that many Moravian and Bohemian people have traces of Romani in their DNA. I also had a lot of Basque showing up in the Iberian portions, but I do know that many of the men who traveled with the Conquistadors were of Basque origin, but it was researching the DNA results that led me to discover that fact. It makes sense that I would have Basque because my great-great-grandfather was a mestizo. Romani? Basque?Who knows for sure? Another interesting thing is that my maternal haplogroup is highest among the Basque and Tuareg peoples of Northern Africa. Now, that’s strange because my mom has NO documented Iberian descent. She does have Melungeon. I think I should consider doing a mitochondrial test in the near future because this intrigues me.

Whatever the case, when I look in the mirror, sometimes, I see a little bit of Spain peeking back at me and sometimes, I see a taste of Bohemia and Romania, and I see a Celtic gal, a Pict, with ties to Lands End and ancient France, and now…yeah, I can see Samoyedic and Austronesian traces, but I always see one who loves the Earth and her Creator, who sees the beauty in all of Earth’s people, who longs to be Spirit-led and see with spirit eyes. I belong to my ancestors and to my descendants, to the Creator and to the Earth. I don’t need anyone to tell me who I am, but it is fun to discover all the pathways my ancestors traveled. I do not believe in accidents. I was meant to be and so were you.

 

Image may contain: one or more people, closeup and outdoor And this is ME!