13 September 2009
"Don't get too comfortable with who you are at any given time,you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be." Jon Bon Jovi
They say timing is everything. In photography as in life. My friend Merv sent me this today as I was leaving the memorial commemorating the life of Maria Ruiz. A bright shining light, the warm heart of the old south side of my hometown of Flagstaff. It was a beautiful gathering of people, family and friends who have been touched by her amazing spirit which included the art of food and sustenance for the soul. She was/is a beautiful, punk rock, Frida-esque Botisatsva; Lover of life, mother, friend to many.
So many people came together today and I it was truly moving to see all the faces of our community spanning over 25 years. Her life just shy of 50 years has left me pondering how much time we really have to participate in this dance of life? Her cafe has been a refuge, a place to share secrets, reflections over delicious lemonade and blue corn tamales; Her food and I would imagine her life was spiced with a little hot, some sweet and flavors of the world; nutmeg, chile, honey; soy sauce and citrus; the fruits of the earth created into savory masterpieces for the palette; visually beautifully presented with care and served with reflections on life, spiritual and political.
The last time I saw her was at the last hold out of the local neighborhood grocery store, the Bashas on the hill. I haven't been home in awhile but whenever I walk through the doors I take note of the things that haven't changed; it still smells the same like it did when I was kid; I know where everything is; I don't get lost in the overwhelming aisles like I do at the newer, super sized stores that make me want to run back outside; people still ask after my mother; and so it was so lovely to see her in her overalls coming in as I was going out. It was a brief moment appreciated for it's sense of home and for it's significance for it's brevity now that she is gone from this earthly world. I am grateful to have seen her; still so beautiful.
One can not capture all the moments of a life even if one tried; If I had the foresight as I do now, after the fact as I comforted my friend Rex whose tears were the first I've ever seen in all the years of our friendship as we sat at my table reflecting and trying to be brave in this world gone mad. I thought of all the wonderful people I've known since I was a child; all the children I've know as babies now grown with children of their own; the passing of those who've gone before whose memories become enlivened again as the ache returns from the missing of their presence; I should have done portraits of each and everyone to look for the light and the love they each held for this beautiful soul to remember and see her in them and them in her. We are reflections of one another after all; pieces of the whole.
It is not comfortable this pain of loss, of becoming. How do we bare it all? And yet this little note reminds me of what I feel when I return to my yoga practice, or try my best to be aware of the bigger energy; the life force that coerces us to grow and become something more of who we are; who are we to become in the years of our lives?
One of Maria's nephews, Adan, whose 7 drew pictures in his sketch book and asked me if I liked to climb trees. It made me laugh and think I should again...who will she, me, you become in the days,weeks, years to come? Becoming is not an easy process...I am reminded of other words of wisdom to justify the uncomfortableness from the book ILLUSIONS; "What the caterpillar calls death becomes a butterfly."