Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild


This time last year I was on my bicycle in Florida celebrating Sinkhole de Mayo. If you don't know what I mean, I suggest you buy my book and find out!

This year, however, I am in San Juan Bautista, pretty much as close to Mexico as you can get in Los Estados Unidos. We "partied" over the weekend via the 31st annual Indian Market and World Peace Festival, which featured non-stop Native American dancing and music and arts/crafts booths. There was no alcohol or drugs - they are not allowed on the "Red Road" of sobriety - we "partied" family style.

This was the last festival organized by San Juan resident artist and writer Laynee Bluebird (Elayne Silva-Reyna) who happens to live down the asphalt road from me. Her daughter and others will continue the tradition in years to come.

Layne Bluebird is the author of Wolf Dreamer of the Longest Night Moon, a beautiful story/meditation that I highly recommend experiencing. As Laynee (80 years old but she can pass for 50) would tell you, the story is meant to be read in one sitting in a quiet space where you can reflect on its affect on your spirit. The sequel to this story will come out soon. Expand your natural awareness. Read for yourself.

What does this have to do with Beasts of the Southern Wild? Nothing! And Everything! I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild on DVD Sunday night after mildly freaking out at the Indian Market. I had what I call an "episode" while enjoying a dance performance in the middle of the sports field behind the town elementary school on a perfectly sunny and breezy afternoon. 
I don't have "episodes" all the time - they only happen to me once in a while, usually when I'm on my own in the woodsy woods woodsy or romping in the high country. They kind of sneak up on me and take over - not in any scary way - completely beautiful - and I get a floating sensation along with super-heightened sensory awareness. Light, color, sound, movement, and especially wind are super intensified. I am isolated for a moment or two, sometimes a few minutes before I come back to normal.
I love it when an "episode" happens. This one occurred during one of the dances at the festival. A steady drum beat - a big circle of people dressed in native garb - men and women, boys and girls - a green grassy field under a bright blue sky. One dancer was especially demonstrative. I think his "spirit" was a deer spirit (note: that's my interpretation - I don't pretend to understand Native American culture or spirituality, but I respect it nonetheless) and he was really into his movements, using ornaments that resembled deer horns in quick, rhythmic motion, bent over like a quadruped, turning this way and that with the sound of the drum, staying in time with the other dancers.
In the background, lining the field, is a long row of tall, healthy eucalyptus trees. When my "episode" happened, I became aware that the tallest tree branches were swaying back and forth in time with the drums. My focus was on the trees, no, IN the trees, from a long distance away, on the opposite side of the dancers. That is, the dancers were in the field between me and the eucalyptus grove. The whole scene kind of ebbed and flowed with the wind for a few minutes. I felt like I was slightly elevated, just a little bit off the ground.
I couldn't stop smiling.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of the best movies I have never heard of. It's set in the deep South, off-bayou of New Orleans I think, and it features some of the wildest, most intriguing characters you will never ever meet. Hushpuppy, the little girl that stars in the movie, around which the movie revolves, is a four-foot tower of strength and a fierce observer/participant of/in her reality. If you don't love her, you should be ashamed of yourself.
This story is raw. It's ferocious. It's wonderful.
It didn't make me have an "episode" like the Indian Market and World Peace Festival, but it made my gut burn with a love of being alive. "Beast it." It's Nature's Way.
Peace, Love, and Hushpuppy,

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