Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gathering



It's hot and humid in DC today, the stifling, oppressive heat that I usually associate with August. At this time of year, it won't last. It's a pre-quel to the late summer weather we're famous for here in the capital swamp.

Naturally I don't dismiss these conditions according to simple meteorological explanations, not only because it's "too early," but also because of the timing. Memorial Day is just around the corner.

On the way here to celebrate their day of rememberance are Vietnam vets, such a crusty bunch of dudes: wrinkly, hairy, careworn and sunburned. For me, the grumble of Rolling Thunder is a sure sign that summer is about to begin. As well, the last of the WWII vets will show up, many in wheel chairs or using walkers. In contrast to the Vietnam vets, they are smooth skinned, well groomed, carefully shaved. It's an interesting juxtaposition that no doubt says something about the generations themselves, but also speaks to the energy of those two very different wars. The WWII generation is on the verge of passing away; may the energy of the Holocaust finally unwind when the last of them is laid to rest, please!

Along with the living vets, throngs of dead soldiers stream into the city at this time of year. They gather at the memorials on the National Mall, as if waiting for orders. I associate this kind of excessive heat and humidity with the gathering of the dead. Too many ghosts, no matter what the temperature is, create an oppressive feeling in the air.

Once upon a time I thought I could help them cross over or find their way to the light. I overwhelmed myself many a time trying. My goodness I was ambitious. These days when they cluster around me, I tell them to go look for their grandparents. I believe the ancestors also gather in DC for Memorial Day. I believe they come here so they can lead the ghosts out of whatever loop they're tracing, take them onwards and upwards to a place of healing and renewal. All the ghosts have to do is notice, and ask for help. But since ghosts are kind of stoned (don't ask me why), sometimes they don't get it.

Ironically my subway ride today (I'm heading into the Commonwealth to go see the osteopath) rolls right underneath Arlington National Cemetery. Maybe I'll stop on the way home, wander through that well ordered, respectful place and say hello. Though no longer so codependent to soldier ghosts, I still really enjoy their company. Might as well say hi, sit around sweating and telling jokes, yes? Why not?

17 comments:

The Pollinatrix said...

Reya, I adore your cosmology! And your photos!

Rick said...

War will end when every young man, (and woman, now), refuses to pick up a gun and take another man's life. ...imagine.

Reya Mellicker said...

I can imagine. Actually I can't imagine. What I wish is that all the guns, bombs, and other weapons would disappear. Hand to hand combat? That would enable us to go with our instincts but without causing nearly as much trouble.

Ya think?

willow said...

I know what you mean about ghosts and the oppressive feeling they create in the air.

We visited DC on Veteran's Day a few years ago, and it was full of crusty VN vets. They are a quite the unique bunch.

Re: your comment on my blog, I know what you mean about he willow branches, although it's been a while since I've had them gently drag over me.

Speaking of fabulousness, like the willow branches, your new avatar is wonderful. You have the best hair ever. Wanna trade?

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Willow! I was having a particularly good hair day when I took the pic. Today my hair is sullen, matted down yet frizzy at the same time.

Barry said...

"Today my hair is sullen, matted down yet frizzy at the same time."

Gee, we share something in common Reya; although my hair lacks some of your volume.

Well, alright, almost all of your volume.

ewix said...

Oh, yeah, total, overwhelming hair envy.....

As regards ghosts, I sort of like them.
Went to visit my parents the other day and wasn't quite sure what to do -- so I just patted them --( we are very Anglo-Saxon)

I must say I do find Washington much more oppressive than NY -- here the energy is very buzzy and ENERGETIC
in DC a different thing altogether....

Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth, patting them sounds just right. NYC doesn't have nearly the same climate as DC. It is an island, not a swamp. And yes it is buzzy and electric. Sexy. DC is decidedly not sexy. Oh well.

Linda Sue said...

Ghosts are stoned...hahahaha, the visual is just too funny! LOVE this post- it's loaded, so to speak- and on one hand I feel so badly for the kids who go into the military on some illusion, some promise, it is a lie and a trick- education and opportunity are keys to a better way of being toward one anther - we as humans scattered all over the place in many beliefs/cultures will not be on the same page in this lifetime, if ever. so it goes. siblings will squabble and fight, probably forever.

Mary Ellen said...

I like your attitude about those lost and confused ghosts - how you can hang out with them without needing to save them. I'm trying to adjust my attitude in the same way to my kids - just let them be confused, and not try to guide them so much - but that's a hard transition.

Also - I agree about the great hair.

Tom said...

summer certainly is coming on strong this year...i know i'm wilting...have a great holiday weekend, and give all your ghost friends a big high five from me--sorry i can't do it myself, don't possess the ghost antenna.

Meri said...

I suspect many of them are hanging around, wondering why they didn't get a full allotment of time before becoming disembodied again. What sadness and disquiet they must feel!

Nancy said...

Why not? Tell them hello from me. :-)

Ronda Laveen said...

As you described the living and dead congregating in DC this weekend, the vision I got was of a renunion of those lost and those who lost them. A healing and closure for many. A way to go Home. And for those unmet or not ready, there's always next year, yes?

A ho to the Holocaust energy unwinding when the last of those involved pass. A great big A ho!

Carolyn said...

Reya, this is such a wonderful post and your photos are beautiful. It has been a pleasure to be able to take the time to go back and read your archived posts...and no your posts are not reposts!!!
Have a wonderful long weekend and chat with your "friends".
Smiles and blessings

Karen said...

Wonderful post! I love the image of you hanging out with the ghosts at Arlington... I hope you decided to do that. :) And I love your reading of the two generations of vets--that's my grandfather and my uncle, for sure.

I am convinced we have a ghost in my department building, but I haven't worked up the nerve to converse with it yet. I've just noticed it and said a very noncommittal hello... :) I wonder who it is!

lettuce said...

yes it must be so interesting, that juxtaposition - WWII and Vietnam. wow.