« Home | Nation of Islam » | Reading Keene » | Youth at the grassroots » | AIDS is a youth issue » | Stargazin' with the Mahatma » | Pasko sa Pilipinas » | THE FREEMAN FOUNDATION » | Why hire an architect? » | A centenary of feminism » | RAFI: Touching people, shaping the future » 

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Todos los muertos

Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
November 1, 2004; posted at www.thefreeman.com

The candle flames dance freakily to some kind of rhythm made by wafts of air from the Grim Reaper’s busted lungs. His shadow is partly buried in hardening tallow, but his eyes are lunar orbs staring lustily at the wick of life, slowly devoured by the flame of age, of weariness, of disintegration.

He frequents this place, loiters around here, hangs about, struts with the smell of death, teases prospect with his shimmering scythe. His hood hasn’t successfully concealed that sarcastic grin stuck like slime at the side of his mouth. He is taunting, mocking: “Of what good have all your worldly struggles done you? You all fall on bent knees before me, defeated and equal in the face of death”.

Strange journey! We are confronted with the reality of a “special trip to the afterlife”, but not given enough time to pack some bags. Where our hearts are supposed to find eternal comfort, we lust for it with an indescribable longing. We wait for the assuring “so long, farewell” to come by, and not the disheartening “goodbye”, that we might channel properly the thought of safely bringing back the craft to its Maker. But death is a gift given by one night crawler in his stealth, surreptitious manner.

We drain brains to accomplish big things – from the fusion and fission of atoms and space voyages to stem cell research and the regeneration of species, but that same energy exerted in the unlocking of quarks doesn’t come easily in formulating an elixir for immortality. And even if we are promised to die is gain or that we would have our taste of resurrection and or a serving of that Great Rapture, to slip through another phase in space or another dimension in time is something we entertain in thoughts, but rarely deal for real.

We drool over the idea of peace found only in eternal rest. But it’s crazy to want death without yielding to the judgment call of the Grim Reaper. Here we are holding on to the last knot of dear life, banking on the shadow of the future that comes silhouetted as the “now, the present, the today”. Come to think of it: If we could only touch death first before it engulfs us, maybe then we would be okay. And it is easier for us to hie off sans the satchel of our worries or the backpack of our cares.

Much of what we see are the dazzling, titillating, hypnotic, disorientating threads of materialism unraveling before our naked eyes, and then woven to clothe us with the promises of comfort and vows of flower-strewn pathways. This form of subtle seduction makes it hard for us to accept we are but cinders in space that have emanated from and would succumb to one Divine Shadow.

We salivate at the flavor of fame, and dip our fingers into the cream of wealth, though they create for us nothing but spiritual carcinogens. With the way the world views the kaleidoscope of materialism taking awesome patterns, there’s no sense anymore on pondering why it is so difficult to draw humanity together. In fact, it would be very nice to have snapshots of our emotions when faced with the tempting calls of materialism, and to try to de-scramble that later on to find out what temporal messages were expressed there. Might be too complex.

Might be a venue for denial. Might be too complicated. Might be sending our lids flipping with the things we associate with death – frustration, sadness, guilt, and rage. But we are to drink from the chalice of death, to make a contact into the void.We maybe are young, beautiful, wealthy and famous, but who and what can spare us from the inevitability of death? We all shudder at the sight of the Grim Reaper brandishing the blade of his scythe, sending our blood curling at his guttural cry. We see death by the sickle a shameful way to fade away.

The Grim Reaper went on with his song: “Human beings trapped by happenstance in a dark and bitter cold. There was one who possessed a stick of wood. The dying fire is in need of logs, but the human held her stick back. For on the faces around the fire, she noticed one was black. The next man looking across the way, saw one not of his church, and couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch. The third one sat in tattered clothes, he gave his coat a hitch. Why should his log be put to use, to warm the idle rich? The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store. And how to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor. The black man’s face bespoke revenge, as the fire passed from sight, for all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white. The last man of this forlorn group did give only to those who gave was how he played the game. The logs held tight in death’s still hands was proof of human sin. They didn’t die from the cold without, they died from - THE COLD WITHIN.”

Jump in. Be counted. We have so much coldness within. We delight in some hardened, frozen craft come home to its Maker, and we never ever go ashamed of our folly. How queer indeed to be this chilled within, to be this damn frigid, but to be greeting each other in the netherworld: “Todos los muertos!”

(For your deadly comments, fatal reactions, lethal suggestions or death-inducing contributions, crank up my cybertomb: pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com. Happy Halloween, mortals and immortals alike!)