As a high school graduation present, from my mom’s boss at the time, I was given a time capsule (pictured above). I swiftly took to filling it with mementos from my childhood and it is now one of my most favorite and cherished belongings. Fortunately, my mom held onto this time capsule tin for me through my wanderings around the country when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Had she not done so, who knows what might have happened to it. It’s likely that it would’ve wound up with the same fate as my high school year book, which I unfortunately did not leave with my mom when I moved 2,500 miles away to Montana, at age 19. My high school year book, equipped with penned statements from scads of friends and my picture, tied for first place with another girl from my class, featured for having been voted by our peers as Most Environmental, sits in a landfill beneath tons of rotting debris. Somewhere in Alaska, I think. Having pitched it in a misled rebellious state, only achievable by young adults, I now deeply regret having thrown it away and occasionally try to google about how I might be able to order a reprinted copy.
Ever since my mom passed the time capsule back into my possession a year or so ago I’ve wanted to start this tradition with my stepson Jaden. Inspiration struck when deciding what to get him for his 17th birthday (which is tomorrow, November 8th). It took a surprisingly long time to find the sized tin I was looking for. Eventually I had to settle on ordering a tin chock full of three kinds of popcorn. Since Jaden doesn’t like popcorn his dad and I had to eat it ourselves – insert pretend sad face here. In the now empty smiley-faced 2-gallon tin, I gathered up an assortment of starter items for his new time capsule (pictured below): a brick we recently acquired from his 100-year-old elementary school down the street that was just recently torn down, the handbill from the play he was in 2 weeks ago, literary journal he helped to put together during his sophomore year, music poster from Flight of the Conchords, Star Wars button, favorite childhood stuffed frogs, the certificate he acquired after formally receiving the Two Promises at a Thich Nhat Hanh retreat in 2011, and a variety of other little things. There’s also room for him to add additional items as he sees fit.
Missoula City Cemetery
Today is the Day of the Dead. From wikipedia: Day of the Dead (Dia de los muertos in Spanish) is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. According to wikipedia Day of the Dead begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd every year. In Missoula we have a Festival of the Dead parade, which will happen later on today downtown, to honor and celebrate this honorable holiday, along with other workshops that go on around town in the week leading up to today.
Last Sunday a friend told me about a storytelling event that one of the oldest cemeteries in town offers every year around Halloween time. I had never heard about it before and was interested in attending so I brought my stepson with me and his friend and we met up with my friend Rhonda to go check it out. It was a nice autumn day last Sunday with hints of sun shining through the silver clouds, a spread of yellowing leaves on the ground, and a chill to the air. Upon arriving at the Missoula City Cemetery we were greeted warmly and given a map of the storytellers that were located around the grounds. The premise of the event was to have volunteers dress up in character and tell their story as if they were the one who had died and was buried at the particular gravesite they were speaking from. They would tell the life story of that individual or talk about a certain event that occurred or offer other important information about their life. They were all true stories and many of the volunteers also had pictures to show. It was very well done and incredibly enjoyable to hear stories of the past.
I listen to music. A lot. While I’m cooking, writing, reading the news online, cleaning, driving, or doing yard work I have music on. I find that music helps me to practice joy throughout the day. It can also help me to process through difficult emotions and get in touch with challenges I am facing. Music can be very powerful and healing. And it can also cultivate a lot of strife and harm if we are inattentive to its effects on our mental state. For instance, I love love love the musician Bon Iver. His voice and melodies are hauntingly beautiful. But I started noticing that when I listened to his music my disposition would change. I would suddenly become more downhearted and sullen. I enjoyed his music so much that not only did it take me a while to connect the dots in terms of how I felt during and after listening to him but it also took a while for me to decide to stop listening to him because I didn’t like how the music affected me. Music, like any media influence, has the capacity to uplift us or sink us down and it’s important to understand ourselves well enough to know which does what to us so that we are able to water the most skillful seeds within us and flourish with more ease.
After I cooked myself a wonderful vegetarian dinner earlier tonight I was struck by musical inspiration and hopped onto youtube in order to look up some of my old favorite songs I hadn’t heard in a while. I plugged my laptop into our large guitar amp so that I could listen to the music the best way I think it should be experienced – loudly! I mean really, some songs simply need to be loud in order to do them justice. You cannot listen to Pink Floyd on lousy laptop speakers, it just won’t do I’m afraid.