Because it was clear and cold with bright, shiny stars, when I went to bed, I was surprised to wake up to a wet deck. The memorial service, or Celebration of Life, as they are now called, for my cousin in Alice Springs began at midnight my time. I was awake at midnight, then, slept and woke again at four to participate from here.
Greg loved Alice Springs and purchased a beautiful piece of land. His wife told me he used to walk it with their daughter Jenny, and they would have sayings for various parts of the land. It seemed he continued what the Aboriginals do, singing and walking the land into being. I love Bruce Chatwin's book, The Songlines. I pull it off the shelf. I must re-read it again. I think now of the movie Rabbit Proof Fence. If you haven't seen it, do.
Anna told me that for one piece of land, he would tell their daughter, "This place is a magic place and only magic happens here."
I sit with that this morning, the magic places, the places inside of us that wiggle with magic trust.
Most of Greg's ashes will be spread on the land of Australia and Anna will bring a small amount back to Greg's sister in Georgia to be spread amidst the red clay and green trees. Greg loved the land.
Last night, Dick Gregory said over and over again how the world has changed. He is astonished and certainly pleased that Barack Obama could win Idaho, though he thinks he looks a great deal like a "white person." Gregory grew up where and when there wasn't separation on buses, front and back. There were different buses. His first real encounter with white people was when he went to college, and learned they weren't all smart. He asked what we are doing that we are accepting cloning. He and Mort Sahl were both asking us to wake up.
One of the friends I attended with wasn't sure she liked what she called "being lectured to," but then, she began to "get it." What else would two intelligent, experienced political humorists of their age do but try and try again to wake us up. Yes, there have been some positive changes, and Barack is an example of that, and we need to pay attention to what is going on to weaken our strength and soul. Last night was a history lesson back through times I know. I am grateful to Dick Gregory and Mort Sahl for the experience. Mort Sahl could have canceled. A stroke is a reasonable excuse, but he came out there and gave it his all, and Dick Gregory came out for support, and then, helped him off the stage. They were two guys up there shmoozing through their memories. It was great, and we did laugh at times, and there was that sharp edge that defines true humor, the kind that bites with change.
The photo is of Ayer's Rock near Alice Springs.