The Woolsey Fire burned down the house at the heart of my boyfriend’s family, the house where Jason and I used to spend every Christmas. This Christmas, I returned to the burned remains of the house to sing a song, say goodbye, and look ahead. Jason, as always, helped out behind the camera. We were joined by Jason’s cousin, Pash Galbavy.
Always insightful, eccentric, and beautiful, Pash makes masks that represent parts of her personality, and she does expressive movement performances with her masks. For this video, Pash wore her mask of Sophia, the wise old woman. Sophia’s face and hands are blackened from life’s fires. Her hair is snakeskin, a symbol of transformation. Sophia is scarred, wrinkled, and charred, but she is still standing.
When I returned to the old homesite this Christmas, I reflected on how much things have changed since I first joined the family Christmas gathering many years ago. When I first met the family, I was an arrogant kid. It took many years for life’s fires to refine me into something better.
We all carry within us this spark of life. Sometimes, we lose sight of how lucky we are to carry this spark, which has been passed down to us all the way from the first explosion that started the universe. We lose sight of the rest of the intricate, beautiful system that we are a part of, and we see only our own interests. When our actions come from this dark, small place, everything we do is doomed to fail. We crash and burn. We cause our earth to burn. “Spark” contains my hope that after we have burned, after our earth has burned, we can rise up and try again. Do better this time.
My thoughts are with my family members, who are rebuilding their lives. And I’m thinking about all of us as we face the consequences of climate change. We are not powerless in this situation. We created this situation, and it is up to us to find a better way forward. If we cannot, we may burn ourselves, each other, and our planet into such a state that rising up and trying again may no longer be possible.
To learn more about Pash’s work, visit unmaskit.com.
I believe in a spark / That lights up the dark / The spark was there at the start / And lives on in our hearts / We build that fire up, up / Sometimes it almost burns us up, up / But we will rise, and we will try again / I’m the queen of too much too soon / Except when it comes to you / I can be a total maniac / Running through the flames ’til I almost snap / We build that fire up, up / Sometimes it almost burns us up, up / But we will rise, and we will try again / I used to have the wrong reasons / But I learned better over hard seasons / Now I just wanna spread light / Before the spark leaves my eyes / I know why we run, we run / We gotta make the most of our time / In the sun, the sun… / We run, we run / While we still glow / Like the stars, the stars… / We take it too far / We take it too far… / We build that fire up, up / Sometimes it almost burns us up, up / But we will rise, and we will try again / Yes, we will rise, and we will try again…