So, in Busan (really, in India) there is a festival called Holi. It is a festival to welcome spring, new life, and love. It was such a jarring experience. I think it was the biggest culture shock I have ever had. I was there for five minutes when a man I have never seen before comes up to me with a handful of colored powder, put it on my face and said, "Happy Holi!" After that, it was just a free for all. There were so many paints, so many colors. There was so much love and camaraderie. I was overwhelmed at the incredible amount of people.
So, this is a poem I wrote to try to capture some sort of sense of what I experienced today. Don't judge. It is just a baby in its first draft. If you have any suggestions, by all means, please do.
arms raised with unabandoned joy
gritty sand buries my feet
paint on my face, dancing like a fool
at the Holi celebration preparing for Spring
the gritty sand burying my feet
reminds me of a time spent in childhood dreams.
as the Holi celebration prepares for spring,
love brushes the air with one giant stroke.
the time spent in childhood dreams
brings me to a place of simplicity and joy.
love brushes across the air
as I run, dance, and sing for joy.
a place of simplicity and joy
surrounded by friends and strangers
who run, dance, and sing for joy
and paint my face a brilliant collage.
friends and strangers
come together in circles and lines
painting a brilliant collage
of bodies moving as one person.
all of us who come together in circles and lines
meld culture, gender and race.
the bodies move as one.
a forgotten view of humanity.
we meld culture, gender, and race
to create something new and entirely our own.
a view of humanity. forgotten.
in doing so, we are made perfect.
creating something new and entirely our own
takes communication, understanding, and respect.
in that, we are made perfect.
exactly in God’s image.
communication, understanding and respect
comes from deep within our hearts,
exactly in God’s image
So, that was the painting part. I was sooooooooo dirty. Some of my friends came prepared and were wearing swimming suits, just in case they jumped into. Now, it is March. It is still around 50 degrees. It is an ocean. I was looking at them like they were crazy folks.
Then, as I was talking to them praising their audacity, my friend Mari runs up and says, "Hey, I want to go swimming, but I need a buddy." I responded with, "No way, man. It is so freaking cold. That's absurd. I also don't have a suit..." She said that she was just going to drop trou and go in her underpants. So, there I was, giving into peer pressure like I always do. So, I took off my shirt (I was wearing a cami) and took off my pants and was standing around in my skivvies. And, I knew that I could go in toe by toe. This was a full submersion mission. So, I tagged her and ran away. I ran right into the water, came up and sprayed water out of my mouth like a dolphin.
After about 30 seconds, my legs were numb and all of the hair I just shaved off of them was back and healthy. We paddled around for a while, discussing how much we miss being in and near water. And, even the fact that this is freezing, it is the most we've felt alive. Then, my friend Brian joins, and sure not to be out done, Steve barrels in as well (I think it may have been because I called him a pansy...) Anyway, none of us were prepared. So, there we were, the four of us, swimming around in the freezing ocean in nothing but out underpants. Afterward, we took a picture to commemorate this awesome event. People who don't even know me came up to me saying that I had balls of steel, and that I am a true rock star, which I think is completely appropriate. :)