As you may recall, the theme of this year’s parade was “Uproar! – A Call to Be Fully Present to the Uncertainties of These Shifting Times.”
Following are photographs from the parade itself, accompanied by explanatory text from the parade guide. Enjoy!
Scene 1: Growl!
People struggle to remain standing leashed under heavy burdens of poverty, debt, war, and a ruined earth. They trudge forward groaning and growling, wracked by dis-ease, grief, rage, and loneliness, while around them their children sprout jaws and claws. Contained only by fences, these angry tigers lash out at each other and would rip us to shreds as well.
It’s hard to look around with your nose pressed to the ground. Burdened with debt, war, poverty, and loneliness, we growl and lash out at each other.
Our children feel the burden too, and transform into things with jaws and claws.
Misery, drudgery, domestic abuse, and violence in the streets increase when we, as a people already deeply in debt, have piled on top of us the debts of the richest and their failed financial institutions; piled on top of us the awful toll of war, unemployment, poverty; piled on top of us the insecurity of being unable to maintain basic life structures like a home, healthy food, and basic care for the sick. There seems to be no relief from toil and no reward for the toiling.
Is it easier to lash out against each other than against the structures that keep us in this state of misery? This growling is an evil growling, but it is an authentic response to oppression. How can this rage transform into action that would restore our power, our dignity, our ability to take care of ourselves and our communities?
– Julian McFaul and Mark Safford
Scene 2: Breathe
Breathe! The Whale and Tai Chi Tigers move with conscious breath. People breathe and come together. Arks carry seedlings to grow into plants, the lungs of the earth. Grasses catch the breath and dance. Beyond the grasses, an Elephant trumpets, awakening us to our collective power. Elephant bones burst with new and fertile life. Flowers! Flowers!
Let’s take a moment to come together and breathe. This section shows the profound joy of applying awareness to life. Attention to our breath calms us and charges us with massive strength. Attention to the whole breathing world binds us to forces that hold us together and lift us up, despite the burdens we carry.
Two of the world’s largest creatures – the whale and the elephant – show the strength of nature. Dancing grasses twine between these two powerful animals.
In their wake float white flowers. We acknowledge the great and small, the massive and the many.
– Tina Nemetz, Janaki Ranpura, and Krista Ternes
Scene 3: Return
Return to wisdom and our ancestors. Owls recognize and access the treasures of ancestral wisdom, and guide through the darkness. Ofredas offer special space for remembering. Tiger skeletons grieve. Life and death dance together, embrace each other with joy. Skeletons shine with fire and light. The four seasons surround a skeleton pregnant with life.
We we want life we must accept, profoundly and honestly, that death awaits at every turn. Instead of trying to overcome darkness we can choose to embrace the strong beauty of grief, the hidden radiance of uncertainty, and the soft wisdom of moonlight.
- Julie Boada, Gustavo Boada, and Daniel Polnau
Scene 4: Roar!
Rooster chariots call us to roar! Roar with exuberance in the raw beauty of the world! Tigers fly. Super Roaring Tigers arrive with good deeds to protect this world of infinite wonder! Snails continue the roar of the unfolding universe. When people protect the tiny snail, they protect the universe. The clouds merge and become a tiger. The Tiger Sun roars with exuberant energy.
ROAR! This is the roar of the universe, the roar of fire and the sun, and the roar of people taking action. In the Year of the Tiger, a year that is predicted to bring upheaval, we hope to see opportunities for change. We have a glorious chance to change the way we live in order to protect our beautiful world for ourselves and for the future. Wake up, remember you are part of something larger, and roar.
We also roar to honor our friend and collaborator, Loren Kellen, who passed away last fall. He inspired many of us with his flamboyantly colored, wild creations as well as his dedication to bringing in the sun. This section honors his energy. We could use more people like him.
- Masanari Kawahara, Stacy Lee King, and Lindsay McCaw
Following are some images of the "Join In" section of the MayDay Parade.
Above: A guy from crowd (left) quite literally "joined in" with a group of Aztec dancers!
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
"Uproar!" on the Sreets of South Minneapolis (Part 1)
Getting Started - MayDay Parade 2009 (Part 1).
Celebrating Our Common Treasury - MayDay Parade 2009 (Part 2).
May Day and a "New Bridge" - MayDay Parade 2008.
"The Time is Now!" - MayDay Parade 2006.
Images: Michael J. Bayly.