Our Family Tree, symbolized to the left of this awesome photo, has survived through centuries of civil wars in Europe and America, through the worst of times and best of times. In the face of political and religious persecution, enslavement and genocide, our ancestors somehow survived the storm. Not always the innocent victim, they were also capable of being the vicious transgressor. There are places in time when one branch of our family butchered the other: Huguenots in the villages of France, Royalists in the wake of Cromwell, Irish in the advance of the brutish, British genocide of the masses. I have found evidence that one side of my family, the royalist Butlers, destroyed another, the Irish Fitzgeralds. With each generation The Tree continues to grow.
It gets dark here at night in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the universe is vast. Stars unfold in the night sky and reveal the eternal heaven that mankind seeks in our journey on Earth. I feel small beneath the canopy of constellations, I am a dust particle filled with awe and wonder. When we lived in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Montana your mother and I could study the layers of sedimentary rock laid down over the course of billions of years. My time on this planet is but a moment in the eons: A nanosecond, a millimicro nanosecond.
The Crow Chief, Crowfoot, once observed: “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of the buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset.” My name is lost in the phone books of life, my image is a photon in a vacuous cosmos. “A butterfly flits across the meadow and is gone.” If you are looking for the Higgs Boson particle, look no further. I have been hiding it in my soul for some time now. I will give it to you, my son.
And yet, I have purpose and meaning. Each of us leaves a footprint, an imprint. We have impact through the life that we live and the family that we become. I believe that we have a greater understanding of who we are if we understand those who came before us and the efforts that they made on their journey thru our universe. I have come to appreciate their struggles for survival and a better life and I have come to forgive them if the manner in which they succeeded came at a cost to others: Those who owned slaves and those who broke the bondage of slavery through violence, those who killed in the name of God and those who killed God, those who sought new lands and those who took their lands from others whether in Prussia, Ireland or our New World. From the Norman conquerors and Viking warriors to the peasant Irish farmer and the Welsh King, I find that each generation has a story to tell and I will listen and learn.
Each ancestor adds to the cellular structure, the DNA, that has become this man. I think therefore I am (Descarte). I breathe therefore I live. I watch the Chicago Cubs, therefore I suffer. Oh well, something good must be found in failure as well. (Ooooops! They finally won the whole thing in 2016). Help me build a Tree Fort to house our ancestors. And know that I am proud of our name, our family and you.
P.S. The internet is broke here again. When can you come over and fix it?