A Week of Gratitude, Day 5 

Ancestors.

One can debate "nature versus nurture" about many of our human attributes and abilities, but the vast majority of what we are is the unique gift of life proportioned out from our ancestors through our parents. These days I'd think of things like my immune system, but there's much more to it. 

Of course my ancestors inspired/demanded my latest creative project over these last few years, so they have affected me in a very tangible and unusual way first and foremost. But learning of my own ancestry and to study the murky details of how they lived their lives, in the times they lived in, gives me some visceral sense of survival strength and ingenuity I may have inherited as well. They were real people, full of flaws as well as skills, and in an evolutionary sense they won the biggest prize - they succeeded in passing on their DNA. 

As we all cope with an alien experience, of an indefinite isolation from our physical communities of workplace, schools, places of worship, clubs etc, we are each being confronted with this new world rather suddenly, armed only with our past experiences and our genetic bag of tricks. The goal is to survive, the hope is to do it with some modicum of grace and financial solvency, and the end result of the uncontrolled experiment won't be known for some time. 

And as I learned as I got to know some of my ancestors in a more human sense, the results of that experiment will still be analyzed long after it ends and we depart the stage. My fervent hope is that this time will be meaningful in some human way, some small offset of the immeasurable and senseless tragedy of lives indiscriminately cut short, revered elders as well as the many in the prime of life. Our ancestors show that our lives can still have meaning long after we are gone, and in addition to gratitude for my immune system, in some strange way that thought gives me comfort in these dark days.

NEW: A Week of Gratitude, Day 6.

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