Today’s column comes from your humble Weekend Editor, Eric O. Scott. Eric was raised by witches. He has a PhD in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Missouri and has written for The Wild Hunt since 2012. The Wild Hunt always welcomes submissions for our weekend section. Please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nothing smells quite like cutting a rutabaga. There’s a small acrid tinge to the air when the knife bites into the yellow flesh; even poor rutabagas like these, which seem to have sat on the grocer’s shelf too long, their stiff hulls gone soft, release that sharp scent in the cutting. It’s the sign that I have cut down to the sweet part of the vegetable, the part to be kept and eaten. I discard the outer skin and chop the rest into cubes. Potatoes and carrots and onions and cabbage will follow the rutabagas onto the cutting board, but I eat these things all the time.
In a matter of weeks, I will be getting on a plane to England. It is a part of my good fortune that I occasionally get to go searching for my ghosts; in this case, I will be looking for the ashes of one of my dead forbears, Deryck Alldriht, who founded what would become my coven and then promptly disappeared from the lives of everyone who knew him in America. I don’t know what I will find once I start digging. I hope to learn something more of who Deryck was – what led him into the Craft, to America, to his grave – but I could just as easily find myself staring at an anonymous graveyard in a few weeks as ignorant as before. This is a problem with quests, and questions: we never really know where they end. As I prepare for this new spectral investigation, I think back to Iceland, two years ago now, the last time I went hunting for the dead who have shaped my faith: in that case, Egill Skallagrimsson, a far older shade than Deryck Alldriht.