Five characters (and their guests) in search of something.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Nov. 1st

Last night Thom, Bob and I went out to Xoxo (pronounced "Hoho") to witness the first night of Dia de los Muertos. It was so incredible--virtually every grave adorned with flowers and candles. Some had food, drink, cigarettes, balloons. Some had elaborate designs made out of flowers (marigolds mostly, and coxcomb), or out of dirt and colored sand. Many families were gathered around the gravesites, chatting, eating food they'd brought, and sharing drinks. There were several kids asleep on blankets (we got there around 12:30am and left around 2am). Many firecrackers were being set off in an adjacent field. Mariachi bands were strolling through the graveyards, stopping and singing requested songs with the families.

It was so alive, colorful and open...and each gravesite was so individualized. It made every graveyard I've ever been to seem incredibly sterile. If buriel was my post-mortem choice (which it isn't), I'd choose Xoxo, where your gravesite can be adorned with and how you please--with agave, or poinsettia, or sculpture....candle holders, fencing, or--nothing.

Alta, Bob, Tony, Donna and I had also gone to the big Oaxaca graveyard around 9pm. It had it's appeal as well. One of the most beautiful things there were the walls of candlelit "wallcrypts". There were also several beautiful altars along the perimeter of the graves.

Tonight we will take the kids to the Oaxaca cemetery so they can get an idea of it all. It was just too late last night. They went to a Halloween party last night with a bunch of kids--a fairly international bunch, who have had some sort of exposure to cultures which celebrate Halloween. The family who hosted the party had to go to their neighbors and warn them of our coming, as well as supply them with the candy! Quite a different experience, and thouroughly enjoyable. Muriel and Leland did not notice the differences.

We all worked very hard over the last week making an altar in the house. It has been a tremendously satisfying creative project... How often does one get to assemble such a magnificent thing? I'll send pictures out soon.

Bob and Tony return to S.F. on Thursday after over 2 weeks with us. They will be sorely missed! Their arrival gave our lives here, and the house, a new infusion of energy and excitement. We've got a good groove going with cooking now, and the house looks fabulous! Also, Donna is here for a quick visit (5 days), adding another creative force for alter assembly, etc. The house will seem very quiet Thurday night.

I'm now off to do some drawing with Leland, as promised.


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