OF OUR MEMORIES
There is an ancient Arthurian legend about a mystical isle called Avalon, a Utopian Paradise inhabited by witches, sorcerers, fantastical winged creatures and faerie queens. Avalon supposedly existed outside of normal time and its entrance, a bridge between the dense earth realms and the ethereal realms where miracles and magic dwelt, was veiled in heavy mists. Believing it was there parted
the mists and kept it alive and accessible. But if no one remembered to utter the requisite incantations and prayers of devotion to soothe the spirits at the gateway, Avalon would melt into the ethers and be lost forever.
We are all caretakers of our memories. We are responsible to keep breathing life into them so they can continue to exist. If we remember and relive exquisite moments, powerful performances and the people we loved that left us breathless, they will remain with us forever and we will feel full. But if we forget them, these same memories will dissolve into the mists like Avalon did, and we will feel
bereft and empty. We’ll know that something is missing but we won’t know how to get it back.
I have the good fortune to call John Densmore, the Doors drummer, a friend. He is the antithesis of the archetypical narcissistic rock and roller as he is generous and curious about things besides himself. He’s also a wonderful writer and I’ve edited two books for him over the years. One afternoon, I went to his house to work with him on a short piece he had written and when we were through, he led me
into his studio. I sat on a chair, he took his place behind his drums and said, “Thank you for the gift you just gave me. Now here’s one for you.”
He began to recite a beautiful poem called “Circling the Daughter,” by Etheridge Knight, and accompanied himself with drum beats and the spaces in between. The poem was gorgeous and the moment was breathtaking. “The rain fell with a fierce gentleness,” he chanted. “Begin your dance with men with a Grin and a Grace
As I took it in, it knew I was experiencing a moment that never would or could be repeated. A one man show for a one person audience. Here and gone like a Buddhist sand painting. There were no cameras and no tape and I realized that I was responsible for keeping it alive. And I have done just that.
As I write this, I’m reminded of a ballet in my company’s repertoire called “The Abyss.” When the lead ballerina and her partner performed it, I stood in the wings to watch. It was so intimate, they were so immersed in the emotions and each other, it felt like I was eavesdropping. They have both left this earth, but I still remember their performance and I always will.
When you see something beautiful and keep it a secret, it begins to dissolve at the edges like a dream that you chase but you never catch. If you create something precious, in most cases, not sharing your expression can be a waste of a thing of beauty. Let it go out into the world like a wild bird, let it fly free and follow its journey. Some people will love it, others won’t, but their opinions have nothing to do with your process. We are all searching for meaning,
it’s a thorny path and often a tough road to hoe, but what you create might spark inspiration in someone else and make their life path a little bitvgentler.