colby caldwellHOLLER

Alli Marshall - Day One

colby caldwellHOLLER
 photo by Alli Marshall

photo by Alli Marshall

CRANBERRY TEA

I’ve been trying to connect with my ancestors, which feels a bit like working an underused muscle. I am not from people who interact with their ancestors, or even mention them (unless we’re talking about ancestory.com, because we do love our genealogy). So I’m clumsy and graceless as I call to my foremothers whose names are strange to me. Both of my grandmothers left this plane decades before I was born. Still (thanks to to ancestry.com) I can find the names of the women who bore me into this life from centuries back. So I talk to them, make conversation, ask for advice, ask if they like my latest haircut.

The ancestors come through like radio static in stormy weather. A station not fully dialed in. But when they do make their presence known, at the edges of my subconscious, it’s in the form of gentle instruction. Buy a red hat. Drink more water. Now. Right now, get up and get a glass of water and drink the whole thing. No, seriously. And take better care of your stomach.

And then there was the strange dream where we were together, in a cabin, maybe, and they made tea. Cranberries and fresh ginger with one star anise pericarp and a few pink peppercorns. I woke with the recipe imprinted on my mind — a warming and fruity brew that makes chilly nights more celebratory. I don’t know if my grandmothers or their grandmothers drank cranberry tea, but it feels storied and rich and underscored with a kind of mystic sparkle to think they did.