I Travelled the Road between Winter and Spring and Met a Fool along the Way

Image credit: “Members of the Geez team laugh to tears on Belle Isle,” Detroit, Michigan, 2019, Photo by Daniel Wylie-Eggert.

I have been washed over by this issue.

I released my tired body into the words and stories and images and felt bits of me come back to life. I listened and questioned, hungering for that embodied joy that has the power to subvert the principalities and expose the truth.

The holy fool or the trickster is an ancient tradition that winds through cultures and lands. Always found on the road, in the in-betweens, and wherever there are boundaries to be crossed. The holy fool veers from the status quo and embraces the ridiculous. By doing so, they expose that what’s truly ridiculous is the status quo itself. Their tricks, their joy, their imagination offer freedom to us “ordinary” folk by expanding what is possible for our life . . . and for this world.

In my interview with Tevyn East, a movement artist, she describes the fool as mocking our cerebral brain and inviting us to follow the urges and delights of our bodies. “Any subversive act is communion with the fool,” she said. I want to be part of that holy communion.

To be honest, these stitched papers you hold were labour. One after another I had emails pour in from contributors asking for a few more days to write because they were finding the words hard to summon. The refrain murmured was that they felt less hope, less joy than when they first pitched the idea for the story.

Indeed, we crafted this magazine into being as the cold and omicron crawled into every corner of another long winter. Anxiety, despair, chaos, and grief seem to swirl around us. A third year of the pandemic – are any of us really okay?

But we kept tinkering away at it because we knew that spring would come. Hope would come. Joy would come. We let this issue be a prayer.

And even if one day spring doesn’t come, if everything around us is collapsing, then I want to have exercised these muscles of foolery so that I can join hands with beloveds and dance and sing and laugh so hard I pee my pants.

Joy is resistance. It is deep and wise. It heals the soul. So, pitch the circus tent. Get out your face paint and your fancy hats. Stick your clown shoes in the cogs of the machine. Let the fool wash over you, too. Feel the freedom to do foolish and holy things, even as society argues against it. You are not alone.

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann is editor at Geez and lives in Detroit, Michigan.

Issue 64

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 64, Spring 2022, The Holy Fool.

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Issue 64, Spring 2022

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