I listened to an interview recently and the guest ( I can’t remember who it was!) said something to the tune of “the more activities you cram into your world, the slower time goes by. It’s when you don’t do anything at all that time seems to flicker by without you noticing.” I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and occasionally when I go through old photos it’s hard for me to believe how little time has passed. I feel like we’ve lived 100 lives in only a couple of years, and looking at photos from only a few months ago feels like they could have been a half decade back. Time, you strange beast. It’s hard to pin you down. You slip through our fingers and still somehow crawl along as you always have.
These photos are from just one year ago, when we were camped out in Merida scouting for Moveable Feast. We were way sick. We didn’t want to leave the house. But we bucked up and dragged ourselves out to take part in the grandness of Day of the Dead, one of my lifelong dreams.
And like most dreams, it’s not quite as exciting once it actually happens. You’re distracted or overheated or ill, and it was never that way in your imagination. A parade is a parade. People are people. Traditions carry on through generations.It’s more… normal, which is kind of wonderful too.
Whenever we travel, I’m very wary of romanticizing any given place or culture, but one thing I’ve always deeply loved about Mexico (and many places outside of the States) is the deep and abiding respect that people have with time. And the afterlife. And the way they mix together so fluidly. I love being reminded that the things we are most afraid of tend to be the things we haven’t looked in the eye closely enough. Mexico inspires the hell out of me in so many ways, and being a part of Dia de los Muertos last year was a deeply settling and comforting experience in a way that Halloween in the States doesn’t tend to be. It felt safe, like being held by the past and the present and the community around you who happen to share this time and space. It was… just so peaceful.
Whether time seems to sprint or crawl, like death, we can’t control it. So we have to look it in the face and laugh at it, before bowing deeply and offering it (and those who went before us) some food– Day of the Dead has been my gentle reminder all year that we’re only here in passing, and there’s something beautiful about that.