Yes, I have been a little quiet over the past week. I owe everyone a podcast episode which is mostly done. I have a few blog posts to write and push out as well. All of which are just in the planning stages. But everything went on hold when I found out that my Uncle Jimmy had passed away last weekend.
I do not have terribly great relationships with most of my DNA family. Except for two of my cousins. Terri and I clicked way back when in our teens. We have been strong friends ever since – even when we do not communicate for long stretches. We disagree. On a lot of things. But despite that, we still respect one another’s opinions – and we manage to be civil to one another throughout our discourse. April and I have begun to renew our friendship over the past two years. I am quite sure we disagree on quite a few things, but we manage to tiptoe around those and focus on things important to both of us. If I lived closer…I have no doubt that these two cousins of mine would help me stay in trouble. 🙂
When I made the decision to drive up to southwestern Indiana for my Uncle’s funeral, I had no idea what I would be walking into. But I knew why I was going. No matter how much I may disagree with these folks – they are still my family. Uncle Jimmy is family. Family matters. Jimmy was the Uncle that was always “fun” – you would get little cheesy one-liner jokes, and when your parents weren’t looking or listening – he would crack a good dirty joke for your ears as well. He was just that kind of fun Uncle. There were parts of his life that I never knew anything about – for instance, his service in Viet Nam. I would have loved to sit and let him talk about it.
It took four total days of driving to go there and come back. And thanks to some issues with work, I spent part of my time trying to get things corrected via long-distance. But, I was there.
Funerals are never much fun. It is always a somber time, remembering the recently departed family member who is now beyond the veil. A couple of small and short conversations with my cousins found all of them in agreement – we need to get together at some other time as a family. We need to continue holding onto one another and keeping our connections strong. Facebook is nice, but we need to be together face-to-face from time to time. Uncle Jimmy would be over-the-moon-happy to hear that. Family was an important thing to him. For me, it is humbling that it took his death to remind me of that.
This is the picture of my full trip meter in the truck when I made it back home. I spent thirty-four and a half hours driving my truck to get there and to come back. 2,021.4 miles. There is a lot of distance between Indiana and Texas, that is for sure. And I did not take the same route back that I took getting there. Getting there, I drove from Gainesville, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee, a trip of nearly thirteen hours. That was the first day. The second day, I drove north from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky, and then through the back-roads of Indiana to reach Connersville. Because of the construction zone between Louisville and Nashville, and the insane construction in east Memphis, Tennessee – I rerouted my return trip through Indianapolis and then down the interstate that rides along the western banks of the Mississippi. I stopped for the night in a small eastern Arkansas town, after nearly eleven hours of driving. The next morning, I continued on home in a trip that took a little under seven hours.
My iPhone was crammed full of music and podcasts. I caught up Druidcast and the Wigglian Way. I finally got to hear John Beckett‘s interview on Down at the Crossroads. But for the most part, I played Damh the Bard on constant random/replay mode. When I started into the mountainous area between Nashville and Louisville, the first song that hit the speakers as “The Hills They Are Hollow” – and from that moment on, the drive through a very frenetic and harrowing construction zone was far more calm than I had thought it would be. There really is something about the mountains that makes me feel right at home. The Rockies have always held a measure of beauty and strength for me, but driving through the far more weather-beaten and rounded mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky had its own beauty and feel. It has been well over ten years since I have been up in these mountains. With a new caravan coming to my driveway next weekend, I can easily see a trip into these mountains in the future.
I will be back to regular blog posting, starting this week. Unlike some of the other Pagan bloggers out there, I do not have a ton of writing that is readily available for time frames where I disappear for a week. I did manage to post one blog while I was on the road…but there will be more to come. There are still aspects of my own understanding of Polytheism to explore, as well as concepts that I have been exploring thanks to writers such as Nimue Brown and Joanna van der Hoeven, as well as concepts that are contained within the books on my bookshelf that are in “to read” status.
While it was awesome to see my cousins again, and in some cases meet spouses I have only talked with and read on Facebook….I am glad to be home. I am glad to get my fuzzy hugs from Kaylee last night and this morning. I am glad to be at my stone circle in the backyard, to greet my local Spirits of Place, and greet the rising of the Sun this morning with a coffee cup in hand. But this trip was necessary. To say goodbye to my Uncle Jimmy, having crossed beyond the veil, and to say hello to him as he takes his place among my Spirits of Ancestor.