I was at a folk museum in Santa Fe, where each diorama held a cluster of clay figures that captured a life scene from whatever distant land they were carried from: an old church in Peru with all of its doll-like mud-people gathered in finely painted array, a conclave of Portuguese dolls with sad eyes themselves the shape of tears and dripping earlobes, an old fashioned American family, placed sterilely in the white-slick compartments of kitchen or bedroom, all together, all alone. I wanted to crawl up into each container and know what it was like to be made of Peruvian soil, under a turquoise sky next to my church-going compadres, or selling plump rounds of fruit with the scarved carved women in the liminal spaces of the retablo from Mexico. I even tried to project myself inside the glass. Imagine my spirit shrinking to 3-inch size so I could feel the fellow adobe arms against my own, or look up and hear the tinkle of the tiny bell way up inside the marzipan-like churches.
And then I thought, I wonder if that’s what Someone was thinking when the diorama of the earth was set in place, saying quietly, “I wonder what it would be like to be clay? What if I could shrink myself into a million, a billion tiny people and feel the blazing Oaxacan sun on the melt of my skin, or sample the rum soaked wedding cake, as my heart is flooded with joy and anticipation of life lived together?” I wonder if that Someone really did it? Stared into this place, gawking with desire, and entered the rising clay- the little lumps forming forth into eyes, noses, and roundabout curves. I wonder if this is all an amazing experiment- an art project, where we are he and she are we and We get to dance and cry and eat and become the clay of Love.