Saturday, November 1, 2008

Is Every Day Dia de los Muertos?

Wanderer, 40" x 30"
acrylic on canvas

This morning when I was soaking in the lovely hot tub, I saw the spirit of a teenage girl sitting in the spirit chair. Her name was Michelle, she lived a quarter mile from my house in Westacres, and she was in my grade. I think she was my first "crush." I remember going tobogganing with her and several friends at night in the eighth grade. After the toboggan runs we all met up at the community clubhouse for a dance...we danced to the Monkees and Beatles, drank hot chocolate, and I couldn't stop thinking about Michelle. A few years later, probably when I was a student at Oakland, I heard she had died in a car accident somewhere in the east. It made me sad. I never did find out for sure. Still, I think she was in that chair this morning--looking very young and pleasant. Don't know what to make of it...

These were words I received in an email from my husband yesterday, Halloween. Last year I posted the story of our "spirit chairs," one of which is the focal point of my blog header. From time to time wandering spirits do take a load off here. Hiram and Lily have frequented them. And now Michelle has come calling. Last night Bennie and I lit candles in our living room and sat for a time in their quivering light. We talked about the spirits, the few times we or our family members have had visitations from dear ones.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he woke from a nap to find his own deceased parents, and my mothers' parents, and her brother who had died in World War II, standing at the edge of the room, very still, all of them looking at him, smiling. He described them as looking young and healthy and very happy. He was completely unnerved by the experience. And my mother-in-law, on her fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1999, saw her own mother Mildred sitting in a chair, dressed in fall colors and a fall hat (even though it was August and Mildred had died in 1985). Mildred too was smiling and radiant. Bennie asked me last night, "Do you believe that experiences like this are in the mind?"

I don't know. Some would say that any experience is completely in the mind, that as we go about our ordinary activities, we are journeying from one place in the mind to another, passing through a world we've imagined.

Passing Through, 30 " x 40"
acrylic on canvas

The chair I sit on is an arrangement of subatomic energies, ordered just enough to provide the illusion of solidity. I can't "see" those energies, but they're there.

detail from Passing Through

What else is out there, all the time, that I can't, or don't, or won't see?