Michael Mendizza

Writer, Filmmaker

Distractions from What Is Real



Have you noticed? It’s getting pretty wacky out there: joggers bumping into street signs while texting. People seem generally stressed, not that this is new, just more, and it shows. The ice sheets are melting. Some predict “stratification” of the polar oceans will trigger a slowdown or even eventual shutdown of the circulation in the Atlantic Ocean and a weakening of another circulation system in the southern ocean. Isn’t a ‘shutdown of circulation’ what happens in a heart attack – of the planet?

Nope, didn’t notice, too busy updating Facebook and watching the rise of fascism masquerading as ‘the news.’ Only one guy isn’t blowing smoke while everyone at the Mad Hatters’ Tea Party pretends he doesn’t exist. Everyone is watching, enchanted, distracted from what is real.

I, like so many others, would be completely carried away by the buzzing; beeping distractions from what is ‘real,’ if it weren’t for my little life-coach and mentor, Carly Elizabeth. I am stunned by how sane and appropriate she is at twenty-months. When I think of a year-and-a-half year old I conjure images of half-baked strudel, kinda messy and goopy. My predijuce is like, so wrong. I wish every parent wern’t so distracted and saw the mirical every child is. This would change the world.

Today, after I snapped a few still images in the tall grass, weeds really, Carly proceeded to take my single-lens reflex camera, sit herself on the couch with the lens poking between her legs and press all the buttons until the images I had just taken appeared on the screen. A few more pushes and Carly confidently paraded through all the images, giggling at the sight of herself. What was astonishing is the care and attention she gave to this. This was no toy camera and yet, I felt at ease, assuming competence, as I showed her how to position the lens cap into place. Goopy little hands, remember. A few moments later, while I was lost, hammering away, chasing some virtual reality with vigor, Carly carried my camera in the office and carefully handed it up, silently, as if to say; “now, you be careful.” Below is what she was giggling at… Carly isn’t lost in words and the mental images that words produce, a wonderful gift but way overrated and over used. We are the Sorcerers Apprentice enchanted by our own spells.

Spring is here. The equinox arrived a few days ago. Let’s not forget that celebrating the seasons predated Easter by tens of thousands of years. The shift of focus, the Spring Equinox and Christian Easter is a brilliant example of being distracted from what is real, honoring the ever-changing miracle of birth, life, the glory of learning, everyday beauty, aging and death or ideology, concepts. In a word – story.

What is most interesting is that story is metaphor and a metaphor is a mental image that stands for something else. We spend most of our lives enchanted by mental images and the stories that evoke them. Dig deep enough into the meaning behind the Equinox-Easter metaphor and you arrive at the same celebration of life – and we are that. Being with Carly helps.

My Equinox-Easter wish is that the concepts that divide melt quietly into this celebration of life, suspending what distracts and simply be what we actually are – miracles each and every one – like Carly Elizabeth walking in the rain.

Michael Mendizza