My ancestors never saw a horizon they didn’t like. The horizon always called them. The only pattern I see in my family history is the pattern of change. They were constantly on the move.
My ancestors lived in 11 of the 13 original colonies before the American Revolution. None of my direct ancestors were still east of the Appalachian Mountains by 1840.
I wrote this poem about them a couple of years ago.
To the movers To the people who couldn’t stay where they were, either because where they were was awful or because they couldn’t be who they were meant to be where they were The movers were alike in only one way – they moved Sometimes they moved alone More often they moved with family or community Sometimes they moved and took status with them Sometimes they moved and left status behind Sometimes they moved and created status Sometimes they moved and thrived Sometimes they moved and failed But if they failed they moved again And tried again And sometimes failed again And then they moved again They weren’t tied to place They weren’t tied to people They were tied to impermanence Sometimes they moved because poverty drove them Sometimes they moved because opportunity enticed them Sometimes they moved because tragedy stalked them Sometimes they moved because life bored them But whatever the reason, they moved They moved, and then moved again And again The objective was movement, not destination They were the movers They were my ancestors To the movers
These folks couldn’t resist a new horizon. I know the reasons for some of these moves – the normal push-pull factors of migration were clearly at work in some situations. But in other cases, I haven’t been able to identify the reasons for the move. It was perhaps just a sense that something new and wonderful was just over the hill – just beyond the New Horizon. Or the Blue Horizon.