Saturday, October 26, 2013

Five-minute friday: Together

Walking into the animal farm and pumpkin patch, it’s a sanctuary of earth and fur, dirt and feathers.  I feel Christmas bubbling up in my heart as it did when I was a little girl, an invasion of joy as I haven’t experienced in months.  Each time I’m in the company of animals, I notice my heart lifts off the ground, swelling until nearly bursting.  My eyes, warm and blazing, two stars lighting up my face.  I feel alive.

I’m in a dance on this farm, my feet caught between desire to move on to the next sight and rooted to the spot in the dirt where I stand and gaze with longing.  I move from crazy, bedhead Silkies to turquoise peacocks and brown peahens with emerald chests.  From ducks vying for the feed in our dixie cups to black pigs with fleshy snouts.  In a stall, I stoop and with one finger stroke gentle lines across the fuzzy yellow backs of ducklings hatched last week.  We huddle near, peering into an incubator where tiny beaks poke through egg shells like telescopes surveying the outside world, unhurried explorers. 

But it’s here, with the goats, where I enter in and rest.  A mama and two babies are curled up together in a corner of the pen.  I crouch low, find a seat in the hay beside them, and stroke one of the babies’ faces.  The baby moves closer, leaning in, until her face rests on my shoulder and my head rests on hers.  The scent of animal and earth, the warmth of this small head, this innocent gesture of trust, I wish to freeze this moment.  I could sit here, with her, all the day long.


And I know, deep, deep, I know, this tiny dream grows within its shell, trying to poke its way through to birth.  This crazy love of goats and chickens, ducks and donkeys, is tucked inside my vision of home and family, where we share life together.

And maybe, I’ll taste that vision of home here, in this life.  Or maybe, there’s a farm awaiting me on the other side of eternity.
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Joining Lisa-Jo and the Five-Minute Friday community for this post, to the prompt of "Together."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five-minute Friday: Laundry


Across the ceiling from wall to wall, they dance and sway in the gust of our opening door, like colorful laundry strung on a line in a summer breeze.  Papel picado - purple, red, blue, pink, yellow, green, orange and white tissue paper cutouts - herald life and death in images of festive skeletal characters.  A constant reminder as I come and go that things are not often as they seem, if we probe a little deeper.

I always thought El Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead, was a morbid affair.  An exaltation of death in an irreverent parade of costumed skeletons.  At best, I believed it to be the Mexican version of Halloween, dismissing it as anything of interest.  After all, what did I possibly want with skeletons?


Until, quite by accident, two years ago I wandered into the Seattle Center the last weekend in October, during a festival celebrating this holiday.  I had come to the Center grounds with a notebook and pen to write a story I didn’t find, and stepped instead into a world of history and art, folklore and traditions, altars and remembrances; a world of calavaras de azucar, pan de muerto and ofrendas; the world of Jose Guadalupe Posada and his satirical depiction of the rich and the poor in Mexican society at the turn of the twentieth century, embodied in his famous drawings of La Catrina

I came and beheld, and no longer did it all look like death glorified.  It was life celebrated and the fear of death mocked.  A rich way of remembering loved ones who have passed on; a grappling with the human experience; how in the end, we are all skeletons beneath our costumes, whether elaborate or plain.  The drawings, the altars, the parade of calaveras, poetry, marigolds and photos, they whispered to me, We all share the same end, so let us not fear it.  Let us live with joy the lives we have, embrace the loved ones who have gone before us, the ones who are still with us, the ones whose histories are woven with ours.  We are all part of something bigger.  Let us stop and remember. 
Let us even dare to throw a party, to come together with music and dancing and feast, to pause in the midst of all the tragedy and glorious ordinary, to hang our translucent colored papers on the line from past to present.

And finally, I saw beauty where once I saw only skeletons.

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Linking with Lisa-Jo and the community of Five-minute Friday writers.  Today's prompt is "Laundry," to which this post is only abstractly related... 

I didn't spend much time explaining traditions during the holiday in this post, but for those who are interested, I wrote my first post on El Dia de los Muertos two years ago.  You can read it here