Friday, November 14, 2008

After the Party

When I was fifteen I participated in a student exchange that took me to Venice, Italy. It was a wonderful and overwhelming experience full of images and feelings that will stay with me for the rest of my life. One such image comes to me from a day trip I took to Verona, with guidebook in hand I wandered into the ancient Roman Arena and much to my surprise I learned that Pink Floyd had just held a concert there the night before. I was told that the place was a mess and perhaps not worth a visit. I peeked in anyway to behold a truly awesome sight; a living ancient place.

The aftermath of the concert left this otherwise stony monument littered with concert flyers, tickets, cigarette butts, food wrappers, cans, and bottles. Red metal chairs were still in place for extra seating on the floor of the theatre. The shadows of men backlit by the afternoon sun scrambled over elaborate scaffolding disassembling the stage. I could almost feel all the spectacles from across the history of this public place echoing within its walls. I was enraptured by the renewed magic of this place. Recent events always have an energy that lingers.

Seeing the cemeteries of Mexico bustling with family members cleaning and decorating tombs, and preparing food to share with relatives and ancestors, is a remarkable experience, but there is something resoundingly peaceful about passing by the jovial decorations left in these burial grounds after the celebration has passed and everyone has gone home. The gates may be locked, but the place still sizzles with the electricity of the lives and the dramas that made up the event.

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