Last day of August. Just past Obon.

An Obon offering at Okunoin Cemetery, Koyasan....
An Obon offering at Okunoin Cemetery, Koyasan. Obon or Bon is a Japanese Buddhist holiday to honor the departed spirits of one’s ancestors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 31, 2013 || 3:38 PM

I have been reading about the Obon ceremony in mid-summer in Japan. It is a three-day festival to celebrate the dead. Their graves are cleaned and decorated by their descendants, and families gather together for parties and festivals. Their is a special sort of folk dance, to entertain the dead, I think.

The thought of my mother flashed through my mind. I saw her in my imagination, standing there amidst the dancers who were dancing to rhythms that I don’t know and can’t follow. Suddenly, her body starts to jerk itself into the rhythms around here, violent, strange movements that no human body could perform. The lower part of her face opens her mouth out into a round scream. Her jaw keeps falling down and down, gaping further and further. She disappears, absorbed into the motions of the dancers on either side of her, all of them ghosts, and they disappear into the swirls of movement.

Reading now: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki