Monday, 28 September 2009

There is a Gaelic proverb,

“Cuimhnichibh aír na daoine bho’n d’thainig sibh” (remember the people whom you come from)
Where do you come from? Where do you live? What are you doing here? Who are you? Who do you think you are? I know, the last sentence is also the title of a television programme. It is apparently very popular. I have never seen it, just the itty bitty advertising teasers. I am wondering though, should there be a distinction between who you are and who you think you are?
My cousin, the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the ship's pilot and marine cartographer, wrote the history of our branch of the clan with a little help from yours truly and the other cousins. We are fiercely proud of our Scots heritage.
My great-grandfather made the choice to migrate - or was the choice made for him? My great-grandmother made the choice to marry him - or was the choice made for her? Other choices were made by my other great-grandparents - or were made for them. My parents made the choice to marry. I am a result of that choice. So are my siblings.
We have come from one place. We live in others. The reasons for doing so are many and varied. We have made choices or had the choices thrust upon us. We are the result of those choices and something more besides. Our choices have not always been wise. I know all that.
One of my more distant cousins has taken her six children off to live in the slums of Manila for three months. It is a choice I would not have made at any time - more than justified I believe by the present floods. Our clan is too close knit for this not to be the cause of concern for everyone who knows them. We have had no news. Another friend who is working there will get news to me if he can but I know he is unlikely to find them in the chaos.
I am part of all that. I am a part of the choices made by others. I am a part of the past as well as the present and the future. I have to remember the people I come from. They are also my future.

4 comments:

Ebony McKenna. said...

That's gorgeous.
Now, how do you pronounce that proverb?

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Ebony. My pronunciation of the Gaelic is absolutely atrocious so I won't even try to put it down phonetically. I wish I really spoke Gaelic. All I can do is read a few words!

Rachel Fenton said...

I hope you hear news soon..."...these are the ties that bind". Better to have a clan to muddle along with than without, I think.

catdownunder said...

No news yet