It’s that time of year again. Here in our little coastal paradise, hordes or barbarians descend to get out of the inland heat, char some animal flesh, and blow things up on the beach.
So a year after working so passionately on devising a new Independence/Interdependence Day celebration, where do things stand?
One thought I’ve had has to do with the dynamic tension between the two possible sentiments: Independence ~ Interdependence (as Eamonn Kelly would put it). Both are present and necessary in these challenging times.
From an artistic perspective, independence is about the negative space: breaking away from that which we no longer need. There are other examples of the power of this negative-space perspective; the language of the Ten Commandments, the resistance movements of the Arab Spring, and many crucial environmental movements have been drawn around the negative space, with “Thou Shalt Not…” language and a call to STOP doing wrong. This is Michelangelo, knocking away the unwanted bits of marble to free the glorious figure within.
Interdependence, of course, is the language of the weaver, finding the gossamer connections between the things. The first peoples of Turtle Island/North America spoke of Grandmother Spider, who knew a thing or two about interdependence. This is not a wisdom taught as commonly in the dominant, Euro-derived culture. It is a harder thing to see the immaterial links between, the pattern which connects and keeps communities, civilizations and ecosystems whole and healthy.
So, this year, I celebrate and embrace both, entwined as they are in their powerful dance. I declare Independence ~ Interdependence!
This time of year always reminds me of a little firebrand from Iceland:
Raise your own flag! Make your own stamps! Start your own currency! Declare Independence!
Happy Independence/Interdependence Day 2011!