On November 1, 1755, All Saints’ Day, Lisbon experienced an earthquake while candles were lit to honor the ancestors. A practice, the guide told us, that his grandmother continues to this day. The town burned because the wooden homes caught fire as the candles toppled and Lisbon, with its beautiful cathedrals was destroyed. The tsunami that followed the quake caused even more death and destruction, and the rulers fled to the hills to create the beautiful, new fairytale city of Sintra.
In Lisbon, the tsunami route evacuation signs exist to this day, although there has been no tsunami since.
Since the earthquake cum tsunami took place on All Saint’s Day destroying the churches, inquisitors began searching for heretics to blame and hang.
From fires in Lahaina, Maui to sudden sinkholes and flooding in Leominster, MA, Mother Nature reminds us, despite our illusions, that she’s in charge. Always.
My mother often told us about the earthquake that she experienced as a little child in 1950 in Assam, India, her birthplace. It is the strongest earthquake recorded on land. The aftershocks continued for months, and my mother remembers sleeping, as a little child, outdoors so that they could be safe.
The river which had been near her home, changed course and moved further away. An island they owned was washed away. As the mighty Brahmaputra River changed course, the drainage system of the land shifted, bringing constant flooding to the region.
My cousin believes that the earthquake changed the course of our family history. Perhaps he knows more than I do.
Have you ever wondered how the power of nature has affected your family lineage? What stories, fears or beliefs do you carry? Think back to a story you might have heard in your family, a myth about the land you live on, a legend about the people who lived there, or those that were there before you.
Perhaps you feel moved to write something to honor those who came before you, or about your relationship to the land of your ancestors, or the land that nurtures you and the one you live on. Or maybe you have a ritual that honors the web of Mother nature where everything is connected, creating the living breathing environment that we might mistakenly take for granted. Perhaps, you might be moved to create one!
Honoring your journey,