Spring And Things

Thanks to our Unwinter this year, spring is early here in the North Country.  And with spring there’s an energy everywhere that is almost palpable.  The mallard ducks have all hooked up, wherever ducks go to do that, and are wandering around in pairs looking for some nice quiet real estate to nest in.

People are starting to clean things out and spruce things up.  Motorcycles, RV’s and boats are getting uncovered and worked on.

Doing these things after a winter, even a mild one, seems to be part of our natural rhythm.  I remember some friends of mine who used to have a “Couch Burning” party.  Somebody would drag their old couch out of their living room, set it in the backyard, and make a bonfire out of it.  Kegs were tapped, and it was their own little spring bacchanal.  Not the worst way I can think of to get rid of an old couch.

Down in Santa Fe, New Mexico, there’s a tradition called Zozobra.  A large monster is created out of wood and papier mache, and stuffed with old tax returns, mortgage papers, divorce decrees….anything people want to get rid of and put in their past.

Once stuffed full of people’s cares and woes, there’s an elaborate ceremony and the Zozobra figure is set on fire (as you may have noticed in the pic above).   The idea being, of course, that by torching all these things we’ve burned our worries and are ready to start anew.

Zozobra takes place in the fall, but I’ve always thought it SHOULD take place in the spring.  It seems more fitting to gather up all the things you are tired of and want out of your life when nature renews itself alongside you.

We may not be this elaborate, but each of us should have their own little Zozobra ceremony.  Getting rid of what drains us is the only way to move forward.

And spring is just the time of year to do it.



4 thoughts on “Spring And Things

  1. But makes me wonder why we collect such painful memories and stuff, and then ultimately burn them? I am no hoarder/collector/romantic, so I can never understand this clinging to the past or materialistic things. Nothing comes out of it, except a moment’s tragic pleasure in capturing past time, people and places OR a sham pride of ownership.

    I feel this should be an ongoing mental process…for life — our own little Zozobra ceremony practiced every single day, not because memories are not good, but because bad memories, accidents, mistakes, guilt, clutter always bring one to a closed door.

    Thank you for the pic! It reminds me of a similar religious festival in India. An effigy of the evil doer, Ravan, is burnt every year in the fall to signify that ‘good always wins’. Although seeing the world with my young-old eyes, I don’t think that holds true :-).

    May be the celebration of such events in the fall signifies the ‘end/downfall/defeat’…But I too would like it to be celebrated in the spring…why celebrate ‘defeat’! Let’s celebrate ‘victory/promise’ with the coming spring.

    • I find it interesting that many cultures have similar ceremonies in which some effigy is the stand-in for our own mental constructs. When I first learned of the Zozobra ceremony, I expected it to have it’s roots in some native culture local to Santa Fe. But it’s just something that an artist, Wil Shuster, dreamed up in a bar with some friends in the 1920’s!

      It was based on some religious ceremonies he had seen in Mexico, so there is a cultural aspect to it.

      I agree this should be an ongoing process for us all. It’s easier for some than others, and maybe having an elaborate ceremony helps those who need it most. At any rate, it’s a good excuse for a party!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Red, glad you enjoyed the post

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