Aqui la eternidad empieza y es polvo aqui la mundanal grandeza. (Here the eternity begins and the worldly grandeur is dust.)
– Sign over the city cemetery entrance in Oaxaca City
A photo essay: The Day After Dia de Los Muertos
5 Diciembre Pantheon (cemetery) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, November 3, 2008
by Sarah Hepting
Sarah’s PhotoBlog: Vallarta Voyeur
I spent about 8 hours putting this show together and by the end of it, my head was bursting with images and words.
I have always loved cemeteries. When I was young, I was a very restless person, always uncomfortable and in turmoil. For several years I traveled a lot, and I frequently camped out in cemeteries. They were peaceful places for the lonely, accepting of sadness, and no one ever told me I didn’t belong there. I got to know many dead people’s stories in few words. In death, there were no expectations, no demands, and a silent companion was always welcome.
In Mexico, there is a day for those who are dead. I do not understand that some cultures do not embrace this bridge that we all must cross. Why cultures do not try to connect it to the world we live in is destructive. For we also die in this world. To hold this close only makes living that much more precious, and to connect ourselves to the grief and euphoria that is the dance of the living with the dead is a freedom, a peace, that we all need in order to move through our days with courage.
We are all alone, disconnected, but even as the stones crack with time, and our names wither with the motion of the newly living, there is a grace to this naked beauty we call life, which can only be viewed when the shadows of death offer that softening contrast.
It takes courage to celebrate with the rawbone face of a skeleton, and the Mexican people have my respect for grasping this so eloquently.