Monday, September 15, 2008

Movie Monday

I have been selfishly holding my memories of Ethiopia close...protecting them from people who just won't understand the fullness of them from a simple blog post. I know. This is selfish, and wrong. But the time I wish I could devote to explaining our trip has not been available and, like I said, they are memories that are deeper than I could explain.

But I will try.

Before we left for Ethiopia, I purchased a cd of Paul Simon. I listened to this song time and time again as it made it's way through the rotation, but it was not until we returned that it became More to me.

The feeling of Africa: like nothing I have ever experienced. There was something...was it in the air? was it the people? was it the buildings? It was unexplainable but it was entrancing. Something made me want to be part of it as I looked with foreign eyes through my car window. The pace was so fast, and yet relaxed. Always moving yet not hurriedly. There was too much to take in and no way to breathe in the feeling as deeply as I desired.

It wasn't until one of the last days, as we walked across a busy road, that it hit us. This was the rhythm of Africa that is so prized! Their lives, the traffic, the buying and selling, all follows a rhythmic pattern...over and over...never jolting or stopping until an outsider attempts to jump in. My fingers freeze as I try to describe it because I know that only in experiencing it will one understand. And our experience is so shallow.

The best way I can think of is to explain it in dancing terms. Our life is a waltz or foxtrot or some other such regimented, ruled kind of dance. The stop signs and traffic signals, the activities and plans of our days seem to follow calculated steps with the occasional showy dip or spin. But Africa. Not Africa. The rhythm is natural. Understood. Never still...ever moving. Beautiful.

The following video was put together to remember. There are many hidden things within the video which you will not understand. Many critiques you could find. But they are meaningful to me.

Such as the speed with which some of the photos are played representing how they moved by our car as we tried with all our might to remember them. Or how the music plays in meaningful placement to the photographs (if you are the kind who listens to the words of the song).

There is one photograph of which the memory is almost haunting. The photo at the end of the song of a mother and her child was taken as we were handing out bread to the beggars at the monastery gate. As I walked away, I saw her taking her child by the cheeks and pressing them to look at me...as she pointed and put the bread in front of his face. I walked back and knelt down as I took his hand and then hers. Never will I forget the look in her eyes. It was not simply "thank you for the bread." but a look of connection as we both held our babies in our arms and looked at the life of the other...the life of a mother loving her child.

I hope we can teach Noah to remember. I pray we can remember ourselves.



Joseph's face was black as night
The pale yellow moon shone in his eyes
His path was marked
By the stars in the southern hemisphere
And he walked his days
Under African skies
This is the story of how we begin to remember
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
After the dream of falling and calling your name out
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain

In early memory
Mission music
Was ringing round my nursery door
I said take this child, lord
From Tucson Arizona
Give her the wings to fly through harmony
And she wont bother you no more

This is the story of how we begin to remember
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
After the dream of falling and calling your name out
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain

Joseph's face was black as night
And the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes
His path was marked
By the stars in the southern hemisphere
And he walked the length of his days
Under African skies.

Somewhere in Africa, those who gave Noah life walk under African skies.
Someday we will return with Noah.
For now, we will remember.

7 comments:

Janine the Bean said...

Beautiful video Jodi. I'm sure that words will never really describe it. I hope some day we'll visit the African skies.

Yes, I'm up at 4:45 and I'm also teary-eyed and yet full of joy. Your video scrapbooks as you call them are just beautiful. There were photos that made me weep and I can't explain why.

Love you more than I can say,

Janine

Baby steps to where we want to be said...

Jodi, thank you for sharing your heart and experience in Ethiopia. Words will never be able to capture all of the emotions, sights, smells, tastes, people, smiles, eyes, need, poverty, tears, skies, warmth, rhythm, beauty in simplicity but you did an amazing job giving us a snapshot of your experience! tears filled up in my eyes... i would be on the next flight out of town if i could. YOU ARE A BLESSING!

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Oh, you won't forget. Beautiful words, it's perfect.

Anonymous said...

Although we will never really understand without being there we are good practice for you. The day will come when you will (and must) try to relate to Noah all you saw and felt. The more you write now the better you will be able to recall your experiences for Noah later. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing heartfelt things. Mom Y.

Mainely Me said...

With every hug I give little Noah, I am hugging those who live in a manner I can't comprehend, those who walk under African skies. Thanks for sharing a thing of beauty.

JPB said...

What a beautiful piece, Jodi.

I know that doesn't really pay tribute to the depth of your own memory or awareness or awareness of your own limitations in remembering but it gives those of us who love you just a tiny taste through your eyes.

And it deepens my love for that little newphew.

(That was also one of the first CDs I owned, by the way.)

Crazy mom said...

Jodi,
Thank you so much for doing this video. It brought back so many memories! Memories I, too, hope to never forget. Words do fail when I try to describe what Ethiopia was like - the beauty, the dirt, the joy, the sadness, etc. It is such a mixture of so many things, but in the end, it is beautiful to behold.

Barb