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Transience and Permanence

By Daniel Hubbard | June 16, 2013

After a long day of triangulating families in Griffith’s Valuation, I needed a break and managed to take my first somewhat long bike ride of the year. I took a route that I have taken many times before. The deep forest and the slow-flowing river give a sense of timeless permanence. They were there like they have been for centuries and like they will be until long after I am gone. When you stop to ponder for a moment in such a place, I think the only possible feeling is awe.

Even amidst all changelessness, some of the most wonderful sights were the ones that were transient—a meadow dancing with purple flowers mixed with the golden heads of prairie grass that the setting sun hit just right, a snapping turtle that had left the river to catch a patch of evening sun upon the path, a young buck and a doe keeping each other company at the edge of the forest.

Perhaps it is that transience in permanence that makes the magic. That meadow wasn’t quite the same a few moments later, the snapper lost the sun and headed back to the deep of the river, the buck and the doe investigated me but then headed off together back among the trees. Lasting and fleeting together.

Back home, I waded back into the unchanging permanence of tithe applotments and parish registers, name after name, place after place, recorded, captured and timeless. Then a discovery, a transient realization, a sudden glimpse of a new connection hidden among the unchanging permanence of names and places. Magic.

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Topics: Creativity, Genealogy, Myth and Meaning | No Comments »

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