Refraction of Family Light

A forgotten underpaid laborer emerged sooty from an awkward shaft in the ground holding in his hand a small piece of carbon that had been concealed in the mantel of the earth for half the age of this planet. A billion years of penetrating heat and pressure had turned this igneous chunk into a tiny rock that was clear like glass.

In an array of angles and planes, it was hand-cut by an artisan into a gem weighing almost a full carat, mounted on a gold band and given to a young Mary Frances Reed in 1897 as an outward intention to wed. It passed through generations until recently, at sunset on a west coast beach, my son, Taylor, adroitly slipped it onto the elegant finger of Ashley Teter, the woman he will marry.

Call me crazy –but when held at the perfect angle in just the right light, through the slivers of color you can clearly see the vibrant lives of all five generations of ancestors. And I am left thinking about the ongoing importance of the refraction of family light.