Thursday, November 10, 2016

Antaeus Rising

I loved reading the Greek myths as a kid and one of many stories that caught my attention was the wrestling match between Antaeus and Hercules. Antaeus was the son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea and Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth. He was famed as a wrestler and had a secret means to victory. Every time he was thrown to the ground, the contact with his mother, the earth, renewed his strength and he rose up stronger.

And so it went when he was challenged by Hercules (also known as Heracles), that swaggering John Wayne kind of god who thought his mission was to get rid of the bad guys to make everything safe for mankind. His exploits included killing his music teacher with a lyre and slaying his own children. In punishment for the latter, he was sentenced to accomplish the twelve labors of Hercules. One of them was to wrestle with Antaeus. At first puzzled by Antaeus’ renewed strength, he figured out the secret and won the contest by holding him aloft in the air and strangling him.

Why am I thinking of this story? Because I—and apparently more than 50% of the popular voters—have been thrown to the ground. But what if we could rise up stronger? What if we renewed our contact with Mother Earth and felt her motherly love coursing through our veins and stood up again re-invigorated and determined to work harder? At the very least, we could tell our grandchildren we were not defeated , just temporarily pushed down. And we rose up and met our foe head on. And by foe I don’t just mean the man who embodied the worst of us, but the enemy itself—ignorance, hatred, brainwashing, arrogance, the scapegoat mentality. And so on.

And may I suggest drumming after school with folks from Ghana, Spain, Finland, Australia, Venezuela, Iran via Sweden via Canada as one of the ways to restore contact with the earth? Gathering with the fringes of the good-ole-boy-club view of America to sing the real song of this remarkable land, the one where all parts are welcome and find a way into the musical arrangement. If you don’t believe me, come this Saturday to the concert honoring music of the African diaspora, played by kids and adults, women and men, blacks and whites and Latinas and Asians and benefitting the Nunya Academy of Music in Dzodze, Ghana. Maybe we’ll call it “Antaeus Rising.”

PS About that donation: Remember, if it’s a million or a billion dollars, you won’t have to pay taxes!

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