My Origin – A Mysterious Howl and Moonbeams

English: Coyote attempts to get persimmons fro...

English: Coyote attempts to get persimmons from Opossum in a traditional native American Caddo story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I received an e-mail from an online ancestry search site this morning.  It seems that I have little measurable genetic connection to any human gene series yet discovered.  Does this bit of information surprise me?  Not really.  Is it going to surprise my mother?  I think so…she has vivid, concrete memories of birthing me.  Is this going to make my life a bit more complicated?  Yes, definitely, and it’s already begun.

I was sitting on a porch in Washington state with a friend of mine last time I was in the United States, and she told me about the ancestry search she had begun using the same online site.  She is adopted and wanted to find out about her ethnic background.

The moon was full, we had finished off two bottles of Pinot Noir and were opening a third one.  A coyote was howling in the distance.  Nothing of this story so far is unusual, but somehow the combination gave me the urge to follow my friend’s lead and investigate my ancestry through the site, a service operated by the Mormon Church…and if you can’t trust the Mormons with genealogical research, who can you trust?


My first DNA submission was a blood sample.  I received a notice that testing had been inconclusive, and would I send in another sample.  I did.  The second was not only inconclusive, but confusing.  I was asked to send in more samples – hair, blood, and skin.  I did.  The e-mail I received today listed only one possible earthly connection, canis latrans, the common coyote.  But, after performing a process referred to as a “split” only 4,739 genetic markers could be found that would even connect me to a coyote.


The most famous of the Moon rocks recovered, t...

The most famous of the Moon rocks recovered, the Genesis Rock, returned from Apollo 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is where it gets really weird.

The e-mail also informed me that my DNA had been sent to a lab which tested fossil DNA sample, hoping for some reasonable place to start.  The lab workers had been frustrated, and one of them…must have been a real smart-ass type, tested my samples against the elemental make-up of a moon rock brought back from the second Apollo mission.  They informed me my connection to material from the moon rock sample was equal to that of canis latrans.

I have no idea what my mother is going to say when she hears this.

I do know what the governments of Washington state and the United States of America are going to say, because they’ve said it.

I received another e-mail from the state of Washington, not an hour later.  The message was a confusing bit of governmental nonsense about re-examing my birth certificate, driver’s license, and teaching certifications.  This didn’t really bother me too much.  My driver’s license has been either revoked or suspended for about as many years as it’s been active.  But, since I’m planning a trip to the states soon, I called my lawyer in San Jose to make sure I could get back in the country with only one form of photo ID, which they’re very uptight about here.  He was near apoplectic.

“Who you are…I am meaning, what you are?” he nearly screamed into the phone.  He’s only a generation down out of the hills, and has a grandmother who is a practicing curandera…a witch to most people.  He told me he had received a visit from an American Embassy official inquiring as to my whereabouts, since I’ve moved several times since registering with them.  “We no service dogs, or coyotes, or what you ever are,” he said, calming down a bit.  I heard a voice in the background.

“And we no take rocks, either, you demonio desde…”  He never swears…even the words ” demon from hell.”

I also have a grandmother who was a bit strange when it came to natural healing, one who claimed messages sent to her from “other” sources.  She was one of those “there’s one born every minute” people who bought a deed to a piece of property on the moon back in the 1970s…those fakey things that some enterprising American had made up during the excitement of the lunar landings.  I mean, seriously…is there a country where there are more hucksters, selling more useless junk, to a more gullible populace, than in the U.S.?  I own a piece of the moon.  And, now – at least according to the most reliable of ancestory specialists – I am descended from a piece of the moon.  I have no idea how this is all going to turn out…who would?


Coyote pup

Coyote pup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can I really be some sort of coyote and moon rock mix?  I found an odd photograph during a Google Image search, labeled simply “coyote pup” …but look at it.  It looks lunar to me.  Maybe I’m just being paranoid…but, paranoia is simply realizing how weird things CAN get, according to some people.  Is this my first baby picture?

I’ll have to get back to you all on this one…after I field a few frantic, dramatic, and disturbing e-mails and/or phone calls from my mother, no doubt.  I don’t fear governments, but mothers are a different story.



Earth Rise – The Birth of Earth Day?

earth riseWould there be an Earth Day without the shots of the Earth rising above the horizon of the Moon?  Shots like these, taken by astronauts involved in the Apollo program‘s moon missions gave earthlings a whole new perspective.

I’ve had people who were around back in the early seventies and active in the environmental movement tell me that it was such a powerful image at the time, one that had never been seen before, it had a truly sobering effect on the collective conscience.  The visual proof that we all lived on a small blue planet in the middle of a vast universe that was extremely unforgiving to creatures attached to oxygen, water and such earthly delights…creatures such as human beings.

Various elements of the Flat Earth gangs had so embedded the idea that the Earth was the center of the universe into the thought processes of so many powerful humans that even after the blasphemers  Copernicus and Galileo had had their says it still had to be an underpinning of many people’s World Views.  The idea that there were limits involved with our temporary tenancy had been theoretical, and easily ignored before these photos, both beautiful in their unique point of view, and their stark contrast.  People who were already aware of the importance of taking care of the homestead were given a practical tool that could be used to instill a sense of total awe, and a sense of responsibility, into the thinking of people who had until then taken our Third Stone From the Sun for granted.  Good enough.  All that wealth, time, and energy focused on getting to the moon first did result in something useful.

“The Dark Side of the Moon” has to be one of the most interesting documentary films I’ve ever seen.  One of the aspects it mentioned up front was how white-bread homogenous the astronauts chosen to participate in the Apollo program were.  All white males with strong attachments to conventional family values and established religious dogma.  Alternative views of the universe or mankind’s role in that universe were not going to be acknowledged or encouraged.  It didn’t work out so well.

One of the first people interviewed for the documentary was Yuri Gagarin’s widow.  She told the interviewers something her husband had always been afraid to mention publicly or privately to anyone except her…that he had heard a humming sound when he was in outer space, as if there was a force of some kind at work “out there” that until then had only been imagined by artistic types, such as composers – Holst, The Planets, or the Sound of the Spheres, maybe.  This led into a where-are-they-now bit about the former Apollo astronauts.

One of the former astronauts interviewed had been so thrown out of his previously held world view that he had retreated to a remote area of Hawaii, if memory serves me, where he painted large murals of cosmic bodies using his moon boots and a rock pick instead of brushes or painter’s knives.  The footage of his interview showed him among a few of the paintings he had created using these unconventional tools, and they stunned me, a truly artistic statement of a feeling of separation from the familiar and “known” world.  Now there was a man whose world view had been changed by the experience of being propelled out of the comfort and assurity of his previously unquestioned belief system.

Another astronaut interviewed also seemed to be attempting to deal with this challenge to his sense of place in the universe.  He was filmed standing on Mt. Ararat, the wind blowing his hair in his face…and it was a serious face.  His eyes had a strange, haunted look to them, as if he was clinging onto a sinking life raft and he knew it.  And what was he doing on Mt. Ararat?  Why, looking for the ultimate life raft, Noah‘s Ark.  His voice was shaky, about as shaky as the “proof” he had come up with that this truly was the site where Noah and his Ark had made landfall…a few pieces of wood, most burned…fire refuse.  It didn’t appear as though his previously held idea of a life raft was doing much for him.  He too seemed like a soul detached, like the astronaut from Kubrick’s2001 A Space Odyssey” that was last seen spinning off into the dark depths of an unknown, forbidding, and assuredly deadly universe.  Instead of coming to terms with a new world view he was desperately back-pedaling…back to his roots, his core belief system, despite what he had seen, done, and possibly heard…if he had heard the same hum of the universe that Yuri Gagarin claimed to have heard.

Happy Earth Day, earthlings…tread softly.