Sunday, July 7, 2013

Altar for The All Souls' Procession

We all try to hold on to the people and moments
Of the past:  our ancestors, our families, the personalities
Who shaped us, their words, their smiles, the particular
Cut of their body through space as they walk.
In them we find purpose and inspiration for living
And we ache to be relentlessly reminded
Of why we are who we are and why we do what we do.
But the remnants of the past are fragile,
Glittering as light through a prism:
A memory can be a rainbow reflecting onto your bedroom wall
Until a flick of your wrist changes your recollection into a blinding glare.

We try to keep the past lined up like trophies
On a shelf, stored in closets like old dresses,
Memorialized in urns and shadowboxes.
But just as we cannot stop light from moving;
We cannot contain the ephemeral seconds of bygone days
Without stopping in place like concrete statues, unable to reflect
Anything at all, unable to create more light.
We must keep moving forward with each transient second
In order to persevere in generating electricity.

So we, full of energy and luminosity, find ways to honor that which has passed
While continuing to celebrate the gift of remaining alive.
We gather together to dance in the streets, to broadcast in solid drumbeats
The rhythm of the blood pumping through our hearts, blood
Passed down by the people who gave us life. And we shout,
In gleaming costumes and moving memorials, our gratitude for the growing
Mountains of moments that we have been privileged to collect and enjoy
But that we will never fully experience again.  We give ourselves
One last procession to honor that which has come ahead of us and then
We lay each reminiscence on a public altar, acknowledging the need to let go,
To persist in perpetual progress.

And though we start this procession after the sun sets,
This is not a funeral, this is not an occasion to mourn. This
Is a celebration, a demonstration of appreciation for the privilege
Of experiencing  the intangible elements that have molded us
Into dynamic beams of light. We know that neither we nor our memories
Will last forever but instead of letting this knowledge freeze us in stiff poses
We take the time to rejoice in all of what we have been given.

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