What is Ancestral Time? Peeling back the layers…

I am in the process of moving and recently spent the weekend stripping wallpaper. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the layers of colour and decoration that I found. Who was the person who decided that deep pink was the colour of choice for the woodchip wallpaper they’d put in the front room? Aside from the obvious question of ‘what were they thinking?’, I found myself wondering more. When had they lived here? What were they like?  As another layer gradually came off, there was a more decorative layer – flowers and leaf detail. Who put that there and when? What was their story? I finally got through to the bottom layer and discovered that the walls themselves had been painted at some point in a mustardy-yellow colour, complete with red & green spots, clearly added one by one, across the walls. What about those people? Why that colour combination? Were they the first ones to live there? Did they ever wonder about who would live in that tiny flat in the future?  As a PhD student, my mind turned, as it often does, to my research. To the concept of ancestral time. As I peeled back through the layers of interior decoration and found myself wondering about the lives of the previous residents, I reflected on the many ways that we are impacted by and connected to previous generations in our everyday lives. Read more