Las Madres


“Once I carried out a seven year old girl," Ruben told Myla. "She was so tiny. And warm. Her head lay against my chest. I could almost imagine that she was asleep and I was carrying her to her bed. I didn’t know if she’d been dead five minutes, five hours, or five days. And I wanted to know. I had dreams for a long time about her. Everywhere I went in my dreams I’d find her right around the corner and she’d die seconds before I found her. I kept wondering if I could have saved her if I’d left sooner that day or if I’d made my partner drive faster. If only something had been different. Sometimes I feel like she’s haunting me...”

"...Even though you did not find that little girl before she died," Myla said, "it was good you were there because you carried her away from the place where she died. You carried her with respect and tenderness. Maybe she isn’t haunting you. Maybe she is reminding you that everyone you meet deserves to be treated with dignity. And even if you don’t think they deserve it, you deserve it. You deserve to go to sleep each night knowing you did the best you could." —from Church of the Old Mermaids

(The photograph is of "Las Madres", an art installation by Valarie James and friends. The website says that "Las Madres" is an artist’s response to the human suffering and ongoing death of migrants coming across the Mexican/American border in search of work in El Norte. Each Mother figure represents over 1000 men, women and children who have lost their lives crossing the desert. The sculptures are made from discarded migrant clothing reclaimed from the desert and then blended with Sonoran plant material. The sculpture's distressed surfaces speak to the physical and psychological experience of the arduous journey and its effect on the people. The organic nature of the materials used to sculpt Las Madres also reflects the impact of this historical migration on the fragile surface of the desert environment itself." Those of you who have been following the Old Mermaids and the Old Mermaids School of Telling Tales & Finding Art know that this is exactly the kind of art and stories Myla would celebrate and emulate.)

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