Matter Of Heritage

Entry by: Godai41

13th March 2015
Heritage. What weighty matter. What is it anyway?

Let that question go. Instead, asking where it resides may work better. Where in one’s life can one find it?

Consider and follow for a moment Thoreau's action, in a totally different context, when allegedly asked if he had made his peace with his God; supposedly he replied that he didn't know that he and his God had combated at all.

Perhaps, for example, heritage resides solely in the food we eat. After all, some folks keep devouring the same family food they first experienced, the one that nourished them en route to adulthood, a certain dessert, a piece of pizza baked in a certain mode, even a special recipe for egg salad tasted early on. Food seems to always receive an invitation as a special guest anytime a special heritage event takes place.

Or is heritage something one creates as one moves on, the real and metaphorical meals one “cooks” on his or her own as one lives life?

Again, the question recurs: where does one find one's heritage.

Rather than discover, think about, or acknowledge one's heritage toward the close of one's existence, approaching death, perhaps one actually meets up with it very frequently throughout life’s journey, waking each morning, participating in one's daily, weekly, monthly, yearly doings.

Again, where, not what, is it?

Put another way, heritage may emerge not as a fate or quasi fate but as something one creates, embroiders, involves in, and partakes of, yes, also invents, discovers, and more along the way, not as something one merely received at home or on local streets during childhood.

One creates it as one lives it! Heritage.

Where does one find it then? The question recurs. Before one aspires to answer that, consider this.

A person living his or her early adulthood decides to change his or her family name. Why? She or he does so to avert the hurts she or he experiences due, the person presumes, to heritage explicitly and implicitly linked to the surname. Changing the name will obliterate the problem, the person presumes.

Where, then, does one find heritage in this scenario: in the here and now, the ongoing living experience? Perhaps, yes.

Some time later, one such person has his name legally changed. Bearing his new, now legal family title, for the first time he walks the new heritage down a city street. He by chance meets an old friend, glad to meet him, unaware of his action and of his new name.

They share a snack and a sweet beverage, happy to catch up with the ongoing heritage each has met. Hearing about his name change, she warily reports the recent shiftings of her existence. Her older brother, her closest brother, as young an adult as her newly named friend, had died a month before, on New Years Day, from an infection he unwittingly self-inflicted for which no cure existed. She tears up, yea weeps helplessly for the nonce, declaring this past, done event, the loss of her brother, her forever heritage, to recall and bear her entire existence.

* * * *

Where, then, does this “heritage” personage truly reside? We heartily wish to know.

After all, one not only receives it (past) but one also verily will pass it along (future). Looking back to a previous locus may not suffice. The heritage maintains ongoing motion and will not waiver. Ye heritage, then, will meet and encounter in the form the receiver internalized it with sons, daughters, grandchildren, future friends, and many more ordinary folks eons hence.

I see it gliding through and over the bumps and potholes, around sharp curves, quietly recording data about the paths it takes and fearlessly coming to know where it moves.

Brave soul, this heritage, brave soul indeed, refusing to ensconce itself in the so-called finished past, preferring, rather, to journey here and beyond existentially.