Day of the Dead, Night of the Living

In the Yucatan, this centuries old celebration is called Hanal Pixan, or Food for the Souls, and lasts over a week. The Mexican people look at death just a little differently than we do, and I was very moved by my experience in Merida. This is a snapshot. (Story below, all photography by artist Ric Kokotovich)

From the darkness of night, the tiny room shone like a beacon. “Adelante”, the old woman said, and beckoned us forward. The room was no larger than a walk in closet, wallpapered with vestiges of the deceased. Whole lives were framed in cheesy plastic, the grim faces of uncles and aunts, grandparents and cousins, together again in their place of honour. Gourds filled with favorite foods meant to sustain them on their journey, were really there to say, “Mira, this is how much we loved you.”

I caught her husband’s eye as I quietly walked the perimeter of the room. He was handsome, dressed for the occasion in what was probably his best guayabera, washed and hand pressed that day I assume. A bottle of mezcal that looked like it had been unearthed from the pib, stood nearby. His eyes followed me around a room that glowed with candles, their glass holders chipped and blackened from smoke. A vase of flowers that had seen their moment in the sun, still made an attempt at life.

Asleep in a hammock strung the length of the tiny room was a babe swaddled in her grandmother’s shawl. “Preciosa”, I said to the old woman, to which she beamed, “Mi nieta”. “The hammock is like a cradle”, she said, and I loved the word in Spanish. “A la cuna”, I repeated to her, and we both smiled.

On my way out the door I caught her husband’s eye once again, his smile in the large glossy picture reaching out to me as if to say, “This was my life, my family. I will always be remembered and I will always find my way home.”

Sins of a Blogger

Forgive me blogfather for I have sinned. It has been 45 days since my last post and in the world of blogging, that is apparently the deathknell. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say. Quite the contrary. I have too much to say, ergo, I’ve started thinking about taking this blogging thing seriously, once I get my shit together of course. I began by researching ‘How to Quit Screwing Around and Become a Real Blogger’. Plus I talked to some people who actually follow real blogs and let me tell you, I’ve been going at this all wrong.

It appears 45 days between posts is not my only sin. Oh no. I’m also too verbose, loquacious, voluble. People don’t like to read (I just read), but they love pictures. And lots of them. My blog titles are all wrong too. “Saving Mama Luna” really should have been titled “How Not to Drown in the Yucatan”. I’m also not linking to other blogs (rectified here thank god, so that’s one sin off my list). I haven’t yet digressed to Plagarizing Other Bloggers although I guess that could happen if I start blogging once a day. I kind of doubt it though. Chucking in one’s life and moving to a foreign country where they speak a foreign language and everything is foreign, is pretty ripe fodder for blogging, I figure.

I just have to find my focus amongst all this stimulation, wax poetically (with pictures of course), and hope that my metatags are in line with my chakras. 

Content suggestions welcome.

 P.S. I had no picture for this blog so here’s a piece of art I made instead 🙂

making art in Merida, hecho a mano

Getting in touch with my inner artist, inspired by living in Merida