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How Big Can We Get?

Can Giant Puppets save the World?



I put my hands into the wheat paste and slide the ripped strips of paper through my fingers. Layer after layer, day after day, I coat the face I’ve sculpted until it is thick and dry and I can lift it off the clay form to paint. As I work it is always the eyes that reach into my heart. They stare at me, I stare at them. How big can we get together? My puppets depend on me to hoist them up on back packs and wheels, to animate their hands, and convey them through space. I depend on them to keep me sane; to float behind me down the street slowing the system down just long enough, perhaps, for commerce to exhale and let mystery be the guide.

I wonder, how much bigger can we get? The parade breaks out onto the street, the crowds part, cars slow down, people move into spaces that are usually unsafe to walk. They laugh, sing, chant, raise up their beautiful faces and art, declaring: “I exist, I am fragile, I have always been here and I’m not going away!” And then the parade is over. The cars aggressively reclaim their arteries to commerce. We exhausted, but elated few, gather in circles of friendship, song and bread. An ancient feeling emerges out of our human powered celebration. We feel the spirits nodding their heads, Yes! A rarified moment in a world spinning out of control with greed. We make plans for the next paper mache’ revolt and say goodbye, re-entering the stream of consumption and distraction.

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So here’s my midnight dream: What if everywhere on Earth the puppets took to the streets in declaration of our interdependence with all life, all elements, all stars, all universes? What if the fragile, innocent, endangered, compromised and marginalized were to have giant puppets so big to represent them that the streets became circuses of love, kindness, and justice. A collective presence so big that the weight of power slid gracefully back into the hands of the many?

As a mother, artist, spiritual being, gardener and counselor I throw myself into potentialities hoping to discover some magic in the face of brutal greed that has made people hate even children who are crying out for solutions to injustice and climate change.

What if paper, cardboard, wheat paste, clay, paint, poles and cloth, wheels and old back pack frames could be gathered and transformed into magnificent forces for change? Even as fires consume the West, and drought lays her cards on the land in the East? The weather cannot be changed now, but our souls certainly can celebrate that we are made of star stuff, and have hands that can make beauty out of anything.


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