Recently I was at a UCLA 2018 commencement ceremony.
During this process the National Athem was beautifully played. We were told to stand up and put our hand over our heart.
Thinking of the children inconceivably taken from their mothers at the border, I sat.
A few sat. Most of the thousands stood and looked at us sitting as if we were in the wrong.
And then, that Melanie Trump’s jacket. OMG.
It’s hard to believe this is really happening. How to stop it?
Clearly, it’ll take more than sitting
Chapel of the Chimes is a gorgeous building built by the visionary architect Julia Morgan. It is also a crematorium. It is a maze of beautiful little rooms where the walls are filled with the remains of the once living.
I am at this place because my friend is playing music in one of the rooms. Lots of people are playing music in lots of the rooms. It is the annual summer solstice ritual. There are a couple of thousand people along with me moving through the rooms and up and down the stairs. These people are very alive and a good crowd too: kids, twenty somethings on up to the 7os. Interesting people at an interesting event. Lots of good outfits.
The event changes the surroundings; still I am fascinated by the storage of the dead. These remains are housed in fake metal books with the dates of said life on the metal binding. These are the dates of their story. Some people paid more and have bigger books. Some people have little framed photos of themselves by their books. A snapshot taken not at the end of their life, but some prime time in the story. Some have objects next to the books: cars, baseball hats, Mickey Mouse dolls and such.
Our wristbands showing we’ve paid and can come and go as we alive people please are a bandaid color. Weird. There are alcoves with water fountains and strange triangular metal cones. You can put water and flowers in these and then slip it through the circular ring beside your friend or relative’s book. I notice one book that has no flower (most don’t) but has one dirty white sock instead. It’s not a regular sock but one with two holes in it. Holes like you’d put a shoelace through. It looks like what I remember a planeria to look like. I am remembering said biological creature as a very beginning creature. Not one with a story. But who knows?
Some people are not in books. They are in vases. Urns. My mother’s ashes and bone fragments are in a beautiful urn. My good friend made the ceramic pot and top. I glazed it in my mother’s favorite colors. It is not visible in a crematorium but buried in the ground for no one to see. So I show it to you here.
Back to the memorabilia. It doesn’t seem to me that this stuff is what makes a life. It’s the invisible non object that is more important. One’s effect on people and vice versa. The love. To me, that’s what makes a life in this dream we are all co creating.
Sometimes I even wonder if the space things are happening in is more important than what is happening and to whom it is happening. I imagine this space to be a unified unindividuated force field of love.