A Question of Life for Us

“Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.” – Carl Jung

Ever wonder where you come from — why some things ring a bell, make the heart race, or bring you to a place of sadness you barely understand?

Things like the mill built over a stream or river where your mother took you as a little child to visit your great grandfather.

Andrews Casket Company mill in Woodstock, ME

Andrews Casket Company mill in Woodstock, Maine

Our lives are a matrix of billions of dots. For every dot of which we are conscious, there are millions and millennia of which we know little or nothing. Sometimes the dots connect in ways we could not expect. A line reaches across time to connect two dots, or three, or more, and what was unconscious blossoms into consciousness.

Or it might be a book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf for 20 years that leaps off the shelf for attention, like the one that did this morning in Chaska, Minnesota. The Book of Psalms in Metre and the Scottish Hymnal with Tunes belonging to “John Campbell, Blair Mill, 1880” had made its way across the Atlantic from Blair Mill, Scotland to the  antique book store in the U.S.A.

It could be that the book connects you to another mill, as it did this morning in a google search for John Campbell of Blair Mill:


John Campbell (1844-1914) operated the Blair Atholl Mill. He also was the “presenter” (the song leader) of his local church in Blair Mill for 40 years.


Blair Atholl Mill, Scotland

I remain a mystery to myself and always will. But some things stand out — photographs of old mills, in my case — that connect the dots of two sides of ancestral history, the Andrews and the Campbells.

A 19th book connects two mills in the dot matrix of a 21st century life, and blossoms into a greater consciousness. I remain a mystery to myself.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, July 22, 2017.


6 thoughts on “A Question of Life for Us

  1. Of course the essay is lovely. Those moments tend to happen to me when I am hearing a piece of music I never heard before and it “connects” with something in me — makes me feel as if I knew it from my cradle.


  2. I suspect I remain a mystery to myself, largely because of my status as an only child and only grandchild with only one aunt ( my nemesis ), and one uncle whom I saw rarely because he lived in Chicago, plus and only remembering one of my grandparents… My parents I loved dearly, but they were gone by the time I was in my mid-thirties… At least they were able to out live my aunt.


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