All day the wind blew steady. The sun shone strong. The birds flew and the leaves fell. Across the sky, clouds and airplanes made fleeting appearances. Today is November 2nd, A Day of the Dead, the Day of All Souls.
In churches they lit candles for those that they miss. They prayed for their mothers, their children and for all those they knew they were forgetting, whose names had slipped into the forgetfulness of time. In churches they lit candles in front of statues. They placed flowers on graves and sang on bended knee, serenades to the dead are often the sweetest.
In some of these churches, at the back of the room, you would find a book. Inside there are prayers of every kind, written by hands and not through computers. In myriad scripts, repeated the themes of need and desire. Please stop the sickness. Please give me guidance. Please keep them with me, because I am scared to be alone. Please tell me I am not alone. Please tell me you hear me. Cure my cancer, please don't let me starve. I'm scared my children will be ignorant if my husband and I both lose our jobs. Please don't let me lose my job.
On and on the petitions grow and if you read them you might be humbled by the singularity of intention in all these printed voices. It seems that in life, as in death, the central request is for compassion. On the Day of the Dead, page after page, these voices printed and spoken, page after page they beckon and hold you. Like children, like colleagues and friends, like cousins and brothers and those you'd heard of from another, you've heard these stories.
Outside it is dark. The day is done. Step by step you consider that if you could imagine anything more humbling than death, you realize you'd have to imagine life.