Maria Damon


Lyx Ish Memorial Celebration

Random splurtlings' impressssionistic:
A wonderful drive in gray weather, just cool enough, just early enough (8 am on a saturday) for smooth interstate sailing. I made it in three hours or so, perhaps a bit longer, following mIEKAL's directions, dipping way into Amish country in the hills and refuges of the driftless grottoes supreme of southwestern Wisconsin. Got to Lyx's house in Lafarge ("right behind the hardware store on main street, pretty straightforward") which was full of hippies making breakfast. I went up stairs to look at Lyx's last place of rest, her bedroom with a single maternal-looking gourd on the sheets. The gray and white cat still sleeping on the chair, clearly missing her. Bright things all over: hyacinths, daffodils, dried wondrous curly weeds, handmade cards tacked to the wall ("GET WELL SOON"), a large golden Buddha in the corner, a low table spread with musical instruments, stringed --another room full of wind instruments, many huge gourds that had been turned into sax-like reed-axes ... It's hard to cover as much ground as i'd like, get down all the magical details of her space, the delightful free-form tiling jobs, the red bathtub, her fabulous shiny black lace-up boots still in her closet. I remember admiring them once when she was wearing them and she said she'd gotten them for a song at a thrift store, and today they were as shiny as they were back then, maybe five years ago, as if she'd just polished them. I love those boots, to me they are Lyx. There were wondrous dress-up clothes in the walk-in closet. I feasted my eyes (how's that for a cliché) on all of the life-art art-life minutiae in every moment and every corner. In one room there was an enormous gilt and flowered Asian (Japanese?) fan over the bed, like a protecting angel.

I went downstairs and there were some people knitting so i joined them w/ my x-stitching. One guy also was Danish and knew about Danish needle arts so that was fun. There was an Ojibwe Lac de Flambeau guy there, Nick Hawkins, who later did a ceremony with tobacco and prayers. Boa, who co-owned the house w/ Lyx, had asked him to come down. Boa was wearing a pink and purple knit hat. Everyone was wearing imaginative and colorful clothing. But nothing like what was to come. Kids and grownups with clown make-up and wild clothing, mylar kites, wind and percussion instruments galore, party clothes in the finest anarcho-hippie tradition, a whole row of us carrying dijeridoos --trumpet, trombone, sax, and gourd (played by mIEKAL); lots of videographers running alongside and among all the paraders. Zon whom i hadn't seen in years has shot up and is a handsome young man with a lot of presence. He was wearing a red velveteen jacket and camouflage fatigues. I guess he was exhausted from recent events and from dj-ing an audio-wake for his mother the last few days but he was very in control of events and showed a lot of leadership, just like his mother. A lot of kids and dogs were there. The kids were of all ages. Some were wearing bright colored bathrobes of plushy material. We walked en masse a few miles to a beautiful stark park and Boa had Lyx's ashes in a gourd she had made. We each took some ashes, they were a lot darker and more bitter-tasting than my Uncle Al's from a few years ago --and we scattered them about, into the Kickapoo River, which was flowing very swiftly under a wooden bridge a lot of us stood on. I was most touched when mIEKAL first emptied his hand of the ashes, then took a bell off from the string of bells around his neck and dropped it into the river and finally took his magnificent gourd-sax and hurled it into the river as well. There was drumming the whole time, and someone all in black wearing a death's head walked up and down the bridge, stomping a walking stick on the ground in time to the beat. Then Nick Hawkins had us each take some tobacco from his beaded pouch with our left hands (closer to the heart), put some back on a cloth that he was going to take back up to the Lac de Flambeau rez, then we sprinkled the remaining tobacco around --i dropped mine back into the river, and looked to see if the gourd-sax had caught on a snag downstream --i think i saw it; i could hardly bear the idea of it just drifing somewhere to get caught and rot, but i guess that is my limitation as a hoarder.

Then Allegra had us gather in a circle and people said things about Lyx, or played instruments (a brilliant androgynous saxophonist, Joannarchy, did something cool) and Zon and mIEKAL both spoke as did many others in their bright garb and joyous mien. Her yoga teacher Kalim was there. He sang a song, shu mama shu something, i love you i hope you love me too. We tried to sing along. We sang some other stuff and struck some yoga poses. After a few hours we went back to the house and then went to the community center down the block for a dinner. Camille had made wonderful traditional Romanian funeral food, a combination of wheatberries, honey, walnuts and a bit of chocolate chips. Walnuts stood for the threshold between life and death, wheatberries for i can't remember, honey for Lyx's qualities and values in this life. We each tasted it and thought of Lyx. It was in the basement of the community center with long tables and folding chairs. It was a very community-ish feeling. I saw some folks i recognized from brief trips to Dreamtime over the years. I am not really a part of the community but a fellow-traveler of sorts but people were very nice and Lyx was an obvious topic of conversation so there were no awkward silences. Lyx was an extraordinary person and everybody recognized it and acknowledged it. She is still. It seemed a little strange not to have her there but I guess that's what it was all about. Whenever i am given the ashes of a person i try to ingest just a tiny bit. I guess that is called anthropophagy and is a very common mourning rite, or at least Allen Ginsberg told me that when i asked him about it in 1996, a few months before i met mIEKAL and Lyx and embraced Dreamtime and Xexoxial into my world. There was going to be a party at Dreamtime later but i hit the road so i could sleep in my own bed instead of going to the bed and breakfast i'd planned on. So now i'm home after the 3.5 hour drive listening to all kinds of wonderful People's Music on the radio. It was snowing and blowing but i was very warm, a bit too warm, had to keep opening the window. Sweet dreams, Lyx and everybody.