A bit of spit and we can tell where our ancestors were at any given time in the last 200,000 years, according to Eddie Izzard. I watched enthralled, as he retraced the steps of his and our, ancestors from a group of 10,000 Homo sapiens living in ancient Africa, all the way to the 7 billion people populating the planet today. Thanks to the BBC, we were all able to see how far he and we have actually come. All it took was a bit of spit.
I haven’t spat at anyone lately but I have been moved to wonder if our DNA recognises the places where our ancestors lived and awakens something stored within us from time to time.
Have you ever gone somewhere and, deja vu not withstanding, thought you belonged there?
Last month, we were invited to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday and we travelled up to Suffolk.
Granted, the weather had shown a sudden improvement and there was a welcome move towards Spring after the weeks of rain and floods but this does not really account for the sudden feeling of “coming home” that assailed me as we drove into the county.
The feeling was intoxicating and I just drank it in. The soft, Suffolk light welcomed us with outstretched arms, showing us gentle, slumbering cottages and meandering streams. It was mesmerising and I could not shake the feeling that I belonged here despite having been born in neighbouring Essex and now living in Hampshire.
The tension of the four-hour journey lifted. The sun had shone all day and now that we were here, seemed altogether softer and warmer than it had back home, a mere two hundred miles south. We were staying in a beautiful, converted barn by the river, a couple of miles from my brother-in-law’s house.
Determined to make the most of our visit, we planned a walk along the river’s edge to Snape Maltings in the morning. The weather continued to be kind as we woke and gazed across the water. We strolled down to the water’s edge in the early morning sun.
The breath almost left my body as I stepped onto the estuary path. The river was so peaceful, the estuary so full of wildlife, the only sound, apart from my own breathing, was that of birdsong.
As we walked, I became acutely aware that I felt a connection with this place. I knew of course, that my Great Grandfather and his family and generations before them, farmed the Suffolk landscape but I had never given their lives much thought really. Now, standing by the Estuary, drinking in the sights and sounds of Suffolk, I could feel them all around. It was a humbling feeling.
I was so struck by the tranquillity that I stopped to capture just a fraction of the morning, on film. Here is the result:
So, I wonder, do you think our DNA really does affect the way we feel about a place? We hear a lot about getting in touch with one’s inner self but perhaps we should be getting in touch with our DNA instead. Who knows, one day we could be having our DNA read instead of our palms. It is an interesting thought.
Now for a little giggle:
I entered the #shelfimprovement competition run by National Book Tokens and was delighted to be told I had won. Not having paid proper attention to the rules, I believed I was about to receive some book tokens or ebooks. Not so. The postman delivered two large boxes of hard backed books the other day, beautiful books I might add, all 50 of them. Needless to say, I have spent two days sorting out a shelf to house them and can’t wait to get reading!
Finally, This is a worthy one – my youngest daughter left her children at home with their father and went to man the phones for an evening for Sports Relief the other week. Being Laura, she dressed for the part and this is her just before she left the house.
Not the most flattering photograph but it made us smile! Well done Laura!