Oddly but truly the day when the dead return for a visit: Dia de los Muertos. Last Saturday I wanted to take pictures of the Procession through Mission District, San Francisco. Packing my bag I thought about light ratio, lenses, filters and charged batteries. When I arrived at 24th and Mission, I admired a huge skeleton figure, colorful face paintings and a woman with a bike decorated with marigold, the flower of Dia de los Muertos. Pictures, pictures, image composition, best f-stop for this and that.
At Garfield Park people had built personal Altars for dead family members and friends. Candle light touched old photographs, grinning skulls and those favorite foods of the deceased. It was very interesting and a great photo opportunity for me.
But then those handwritten cards that were hanging at the fence at sunset, shimming in the wind, opened a door for me into another world. Moms and lovers and grandma and fathers and kids and friends, even pets where dearly missed and truly loved. A mom who had passed away 20 years ago. Ben, Carol’s lover for 30 years. Grandpa “Cookie”. They were all there that night, in the hearts and thoughts of those who had lost but still remember as if it was yesterday.
Suddenly I thought about my grandma who had died when I was 11 years old. Magic tricks. Soft skin. Never ending patience. The big feeling when she was suddenly gone.
What an odd mix that is, those memories and all those grinning skulls every where. I wonder how I would have felt after her death if I would have been at a Dia de los Muertos procession.
Many thoughts went through my head during this night but there is one question that still keeps coming back: What do the little ones feel in this magical night? I will keep wondering till my little one lets me know a glimpse of her thoughts.
In the meanwhile check out my photographs from Dia de los Muertos in San Francisco.