To capture the essence of a place is to know heart and soul.
Souls. How we ache, and grieve when they leave us, and then we celebrate the wonder that was having the ones we lost in our lives for a short time which allows us to have them in our hearts forever.
I cry easily. This past weekend hearing the stories of the mothers of the the hunger strikers in California prisons, and mothers who fight for their babies even though the system wants to transform them into criminals and throw them away made me cry at a conference. I don’t know about you but I cry from recognition. When I identify with something tendrils connect that thing to my heart and soul.
My heart ached when I saw Christina on a remembrance placard in the All Souls Procession. I cried when I saw the somber skeletal faces of the many procession participants who were clearly still grieving very personal losses. The remembrance of lost pets touched me. Love isn’t species-ist. The thousands upon thousands upon thousands of procession participants quietly shook me with each of their footsteps. The lonely notes from a sax lead the procession and shouted to me that a soul from New Orleans had chosen to traverse the thinned veil back to this world, here, to let us know Tucson got it right. The evocative rhythm of somber, then energizing, drumbeats and tambourines fueled the multi-hour procession.
Tucson is a community. Tucson has a soul. In the span of 24 years, a single performance piece dedicated to the memory of a loved one lost has becomes tens of thousands of Tucsonans sharing grief, celebrating the lives of loved ones, and recognizing our shared humanity.
To get a sense of what it was like in the early days of the procession we only have to look to our little sister of a city, Bisbee, and see how the very recent deaths of musicians Derrick & Amy Ross touched the community to act in loving and healing memory. The videographer, Alison McLeod, released this video and her email made me aware of it on Monday morning poignantly summarizing what All Souls means to us in the Primeria Alta.
Amy made some news when she announced their deaths on Facebook.
Tucson’s Procession now seems to encompass the entire community. It is moving. Here is the best snippet video I can find of this years procession.
There are so many wonderful heartfelt and artistic tributes, celebrations and lamentations by this wonderful community that values people above all else and always has under all of the 5 flags that have flown here and the hundreds of cultures that have and are continuing to meld into Tucson.