(This article was written 6 years ago...we are now in the midst of the Corona Virus Crisis and it felt very appropriate to remind us all to not submit to being Zombies. Tune in to your true nature - love you all!)
When I first heard the Town of Crestone’s theme for the 4th of July - “Free the Zombies”, my initial reaction was “Why would we want to free the zombies”? Aren’t zombies just mindless, reanimated corpses with a hunger for human flesh? With no prior knowledge of this subject, my research took me all over the world.
Zombies were first found in traditional African myths when dead people could be revived by a bokor, a sorcerer and then do not have free will but abided by the tasks of the person who resurrected them. Through the voodoo religion, Haitian folklore animated zombies through magical means and witchcraft. Zombies are also referenced in mythology in the Epic of Gilgamesh when the goddess Ishtar promises “I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!” In the DC Universe comic series, Solomon Grundy was portrayed as a zombie supervillian and enemy of the superhero Green Lantern. The zombie also appears as a metaphor in protest songs, symbolizing mindless adherence to authority, particularly in law enforcement and the armed forces. Finally, there are a plethora of modern day video games such as Minecraft and Call of Duty which utilize zombies as central motifs.
Then a flash of inspiration came over me when I thought about this theme in reference to our community… what if each of us freed our own inner zombie? What is it in our lives that makes us feel dazed, not present or zoned out? Do television, internet, computers, phones, video games, relationships, families, drugs, alcohol, food, finances, work or school have this effect on us? How can we break free of the parts of ourselves that feel zombified? The zombies are just a reflection of one part of our selves. Each of us may feel challenged or pushed to the point of tuning out at certain times or with certain aspects of our lives. I urge each of us to remember what makes us feel more present, alive and connected. Bring that part of your authentic self out to participate in the 4th of July activities and get creative with this year’s theme.
I am honored to be your Grand Marshall for this year’s 4th of July parade so you will definitely see me playing in the streets. Thank you to the Town Board of Trustees for this opportunity to lead the community in celebration. I encourage you to get involved, volunteer, dress-up, sing, dance and come out to play. If you see a zombie on the street, don’t run…you may just be seeing a version of yourself. Together we can all help each other free our inner zombies!