Dia de los Muertos has exploded onto the scene with crazy face-painted hippies and colorful calavera coasters made in China. Could it be that for one of the first times ever, it’s actually popular to be associated with Mexicano-ness? Well… if you notice, the Mexicano roots of Dia de los Muertos have been conveniently left out. Day of the Dead this and Dia de los Muertos that… but nowhere to be found in the description do you find the word “Mexican.”
Although I have to admit that I like to paint my face and that of my children, this has always marked a time of reflection and nostalgia. Despite the newest and coolest Muertos parties, we can’t allow ourselves, especially us Mexican@s to forget what these days (not just one day) means for us and for our antepasados.
We Mexican@s have always been so in tune with the cycles of life that “death” became something to be remembered, respected, and celebrated. To be alive means to have an end. That is our ultimate fate as living creatures. But for us “death” does not equate to the goriness and fear as is often depicted in American Horror flicks. For the Mexican@, death symbolizes transformation and the entering of the next stage to Miktlan – el lugar de transformación.
This time marks not only the transformation of human beings but the transformation of our precious land. It is the transformation to the resting period of our tierra that unselfishly provides us with sustenance. For those of us here en esta tierra de Atrisco, it is also the transformation of our acequias for they are entering their resting period as well and our precious water will cease to flow through them.
So behind my cool calavera face I am remembering those loved ones who have arrived in Miktlan and who are patiently awaiting our arrival as well. Death is never easy but as we were taught by our abuelit@s, we don’t ever truly die until we are forgotten – for our loved ones continue to live on in our minds, our hearts, and our beings…
Ya no te encuentro abajo de ese árbol que te daba de su sombra,
Allí sentadito en tu silla con tu paquete de faritos en tu mano y tu biblia en la otra, que tantas veces la cargaste y leíste que dejaste la huella de tu dedo por encima.
Mi abuelito tan trabajador, desde los 5 anhos ya entre los borregos.
Paletas, limpieza, bracero en la siembra y cosecha de este lado… siempre un trabajador.
Si pudiera regresar el tiempo tan engañoso, me iba corriendo a nuestra madre tierra para poder verte una vez mas.
Tu sonrisa, tu mirada, tus cuentos y enseñanzas siempre vivirán en mi ser y en mi corazón.
Abuelito… no te he olvidado y pronto estaremos juntos.