Sunday, December 02, 2012

Lima, Peru, 2012. Taking out the Virgin

In Lima, Peru last summer I saw a parade, people dancing in front of a chuch, celebrating life, "Taking out the Virgin." I suggested that the 'Taking out the Virgin' parade could be something different if they took the Virgin out more often, i.e. that she wouldn't be a virgin much longer. People danced and had a good time anyway.

It's about sex, of course, as is all of  life; but it's about sex as life, about men and women and babies and families. So, the virgin is the Virgin. She's unique. Everyone else is happy to get out and dance around and be alive. Even the Virgin has to get out and boogie once in a while. Hey, she's only human.

People spend a great deal of time embroidering panels to show off at such gatherings, putting in time and energy and limited money to show off their love of life and to display their love to others, making public space a loving thing for those who stumble past without any involvement otherwise, those men who pass through without ties or claims or duties or care. I got lucky in being in the crowd as the crowd enthused itself about itself, and me just because I was there.

It can at times make my heart pound to feel the life of others in a state of temporary joy, such as a parade brings out, and in them doing this for themselves it makes me a better man whom others might feel better toward, if only for an hour.

But it comes from those who have it and give it first, families and lovers and friends and neighbours and church-going compatriots, none of which I am to them. But I can see.

All together some men march in time to the beat of a drummer whose measure is akward and yet true and demanding of attention. Missed beats, broken rhythms, the dullness of a worn skin that has lost its timber over too many poundings, it matters not at all, the surge of the paraders themselves being the course one follows, the natural flow of all for the good of the day among themselves.

It could be cheap and stupid mummery that fools no one, but it could be a parade that doesn't misfool me. It could be some fun to get out from the gloom of being the Virgin and to have some joy in the open air with others.

To look ones best and to shine with the Virgin in the sun, it's maybe only an hour a year, but it's an hour one can have for the wanting. In one of D.H. Lawrence's typically ugly novels one character grumbles of her dying husband that he died as a virgin. Some do, and Lawrence, with that observation, is one. Get out. Grab that virgin love.

Girls dress like queens, and stand silently as the Virgin passes, all of them, She too, ennobled by the care and concern for others looking on from afar.

Boys of Summer in their radiance.

Girls in full bloom in the garden of life.

Together, bringing out the Virgin.

Stepping out to see the warm light of love and pursuit of life. No, she wouldn't be a virgin long if only she got out more often, a loving embrace from the world. No Catholic me, I would love that virgin too and love the world in loving her.

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

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