14 September 2003
Day Nine of the Maryland Renaissance Festival
The sky is scattered with lumps of cloud. I worry that the parking lot will be treacherous. Adam seems to have no such worry, racing by on his golf cart. The band of pipers tunes and rehearses in the far lot, near the horse stables. I wonder how the horses like it.
I tell Kareina at the beer booth about yesterday's moment of Amazing Grace, and she likes the story very much. The sun filters like angelic fingers through holes in the muddled blanket of cloud cover. Again, I do yoga alone. Ginny is still not at her best, though once she's got Gigi's gear on, the patrons will never notice. In Triangle, I gaze up my arm, past my hand, into the leaves on the trees above, reaching, reaching for the treetops and beyond, touching heaven, making it mine for the day.
The mysterious wafting privvy scent has been solved. A sewage line running past our camp has sprung a leak. Repairs are being made now.
After morning bubbles for an encouragingly sizeable crowd, I go fetch Ginny. She will not go up on stilts without me. I promise her we'll stay up an extra long time, maybe do the whole site today. Gigi and Mimi go shopping, dancing motes of color against the earthen hilly site. We find a lovely linen sleep shirt, sleeves extra long with ties. Gigi wonders if the shirt is an escape jacket, wrapping the arms around the shirt, tying the ties together. We don't know anything about straitjackets; everyone we know who uses one escapes from it. Mimi indicates cutting off those too-long sleeves, as troublesome for peaceful slumber. The shopkeeper is horrified. We have selected an extra large mens shirt, one that reaches past my knees, and the sleeves hang nearly to them.
Now it's time to hug Ken. Ginny doesn't really understand why I make a daily trip to see this strange, spidery pale man with the long braid in his beard, so Gigi makes fun, making huggy kissy faces. Mimi sticks her tongue out. Ken is feeling well enough to make a naughty quip or two. It's encouraging.
A full-length mirror beckons. I go, I look. As much as I love the new hot pink stiltpants, I can't seem to work up the same enthusiasm for this new hot pink unitard. I miss my black one. Black was so slimming. In the hot pink velvet unitard, I see my image and think I look short and curvy. Who am I kidding, I am short and curvy. I wish I did not feel dumpy, but I do. Body image having little to do with reality, I wish again for my black clothes. But the job is to be bright and attractive. I am more effective in the pink, more conspicuous, which is the point. It will take time to get used to it, I suppose, but I will, and eventually stop whining. It's troublesome to keep clean, though.
We stilt up, and admire each other, admire ourselves together. We are gorgeous. Of course we are; we designed ourselves to be gorgeous. We will cover the whole site today, despite the iffyness of the ground beneath our pegs.
Up to the front gate, where we play the hat game with Security, around the fountain, out to the front area, the ticket sales booths, back inside, down past Middletons, through Stub Toe Lane- where the crafters make more fuss over us than the patrons, they are so glad to see us- into the Winegarden, ducking into the English Imports shop.
Surprise! Easter Bunny's mother, BunBunn, manager of English Imports, has hung a mirror at our eye level! We grin and adjust our hats. Off we go again, up the lower part of Kenwood Lane, around in the food court a bit, patting heads, polishing bald pates, shaking hands, posing for photos, and grinning, grinning, grinning. Through Kenwood Lane, out to Market Stage, where there is Irish dancing going on, to First Aid, where we sit for a moment, and are given water.
In the Boar's Head Tavern, after our break, we take a baby up with us for a visit and photographs. He is sweet and likes us. We like him. Perhaps we'll keep him. We move away, with the baby. The family protests. Gigi demands money. We sell the baby back to his grandfather...for a dollar. I laugh at Gigi's audacity, and tuck the dollar in my bag, since she's not carrying one.
Around the joust field we go, heading down into the Hole, where the Dragon's Lair is, and the Jury Rig Stage. We are accosted by someone who reaches only to our knee level- it's GoddessGracie! Susangrace has been back for over a week and this is the first I've seen her. I lean down, way down to embrace her, and she holds me to her and shows me a present she's brought me. "I'm going to pin it on you now, and you can't say anything, ha, ha!" she taunts. "I bought it at an antique store. It's original and authentic." It is a tiny round tin button. It says "Nixon". Fabulous. I intend to wear it every day. I kiss both Gracie's cheeks. She squeezes my hands and goes on her way. There's some Amazing Grace right there.
Down into the Hole, up the hill between the Jury Rig and the Dragon Inn, to the stockade to hang signs on patrons who won't get in but are standing round looking. New this year are wood-and-rope painted signs, with designations of "sot" and "sloth" and "fool". We select a few signs and a few patrons. They get into the stocks and take pictures of one another. Voila! instant fun. We pose for a few shots, having hung the words "Gossip" and "Liar" on one another. Finished with the game, we head to the Boardwalk, but wait! There's Ken, taking dollars. I glide over for another hug, while Gigi makes kissy noises, rolling her eyes. Done, now, now, down the Boardwalk. We play games with the patrons, enthusiastically greet and hug a man who could, should, might play for the Washington Wizards. He grins and grins, teeth flashing white in his dark face.
The hill we must climb at the end of the Boardwalk is slick and steep, but does not defeat us. We are out of breath when we reach the top, and exhausted from meeting the whole site, (yes, we have just covered the WHOLE SITE) at high energy. We raise eyebrows and tilt heads, giraffe stepping towards the nearest escape hatch. Wait, more glass eyeball lenses of cameras, cheap and costly. As we near the hidden doorway, I stumble over a tiny hummock of mud, recover and dash out the door, holding it for Gigi. She ducks in, we smile and give each other a Mime Five, where we raise our arms to slap hands, and miss.
We've been up so long, there are only a few minutes left before I, we, Fluffy and I, need to get ready for Mimi Flambe, and since Gigi doesn't feel hungry anyway, we skip Lunchtime. Fluff has an apple, and I grab some bread and cucumber, toss them in a bowl, and we go to the Gatehouse stage. We have a little time, and can make a nice image in the ten minutes we have. I help Max cut his apple with the tiny knife that was a reward for his first Festival season.
Setup goes quickly, and we have as close to a flawless show as we ever have, a good time with the crowd, a good time with each other, and working with our props dead on. A good response from a happy audience, what better gift is there?
Max holds the tail of Mimi's hat, and we go to get cookies and milk. He finds a spot near the tavern, among a bevy of Designated Patrons, close, close, to the Rouges, who play, as always, with enthusiastic abandon, their whole souls involved in letting the music in them come out.
Snack finished, we head back to the Camp. I think I will stay for Pub Sing, but no, my sister is not bringing Fuzzy to me here, she is tired, wanting to meet me at the house, give me back my willful miss. Having said something about staying late this morning, I seek a certain man at the White Hart to tell him otherwise. I look, see only the two Ts, dressed as Jaques and Dom Asse, surly French waiters. They see me looking. I indicate a tall bearded man. They know who I'm referring to, and indicate that they do in a tone that celebrates their cleverness in figuring out what the mime is saying. T shakes his head. "It's only five-fifteen." I did not know that. He is still onstage. I slit my throat with my thumb and wave goodbye. "You're finished, and you're leaving," the other T says. I nod and kiss one cheek of each. Perhaps they will relay that I looked, at least.
BelovedJohn will come back to the house again tonight. Hawk is scheduled to be home, and they are good friends, love each other very dearly. I am glad to have been the instrument of their introduction. I expect to arrive home first, call to see where Hawk is, no answer. I pull up, and his car is in front of the house; he's beaten me home. Sister arrives soon, and Beloved shortly after. Sister, who said she was tired and going home right away, is snared by Beloved's tentacles of love-energy, and stays for Chinese food and conversation.
The food is good, the mood is good, there is an abundance of love in our little house. I can practically see it leaking out the windows, through the chinks between door and doorsill. Our home, the glowing pink ball halfway down the hill. Faire is good, home is good, love is everywhere.
I wield my wand
made of soap and water
Joy and glycerin.
From my hand an airy
fairy bit of
from the wand a giant
and it's gone.
Let it float
on evening breeze:
humans stand, transfixed.
30 August 2003
I Am For You
It is my honor
to have had a chance
this dance of joy;
to share with you
you found sweet enough
7 March 2003
I From My Perch
of children underneath.
12 October 2002
Weekend Four, Saturday, 13 September 2003
Day Eight of Maryland Renaissance Festival
It is raining. Raining, turning the parking lot into a mudslide. Patrons resemble a herd of colorful mushrooms beneath their assortment of umbrellas. I see Senior come into the gates in his Cadillac. My boss is here, on a rainy day. Later, I hear that for the first time in ten years, our investors have come to visit. On a gloomy rainy day, when we will see fewer than six thousand patrons, our investors come to have a look at our show. I hope they will be generous in their assesment.
Rain comes down. The big guy is soaked when I kiss him goodmorning, from fight call, and whatever else it is he's done while I was cooking eggs and packing lunches. He wishes me a good day, and I wish him one. We have both been through enough rainy days to know that they are not all misery and mess. There is magic here, as well, just a little harder to find.
That Girl and I are getting used to resetting our tent every morning. The slightest bit of wind or rain collapses it atop our collection of belongings, which we compress into the center every evening before leaving. It takes the three of us, plus Slash, to reset this time. We hope it will stay, it has been Spenceneered now.
I do yoga alone. Gigi is very ill. I do it barefoot, upon the muddy ground. Triangle, Warrior, Downward Dog, Tree. A few others I don't know the names for. When I am finished, I sit in my chair, the comfortable canvas one, to put on socks and boots. A coat of mud paints my feet the lovely red brown of strong coffee. I wipe off excess clumps, and slide socks on. The layer of earth against my skin, covering my sole, inside my footwear, will keep me walking on the ground, keep me grounded all day long. Earth covering my sole, earth against my soul. Is it literal, metaphoric? Both?
I take bubble juice to the gate, to the tower, to the covered area. Under the roof, giant bubbles are born, live a little under the shelter, move with the breeze out into the open, where they live only shortly before being shattered by raindrops. A metaphor? Certainly.
I see people, patrons and employees, whom I saw only last evening, at the Celtic Crossroads show, with the Rouges and guest artists, musicians and dancers. When the Rouges played Amazing Grace, they had a chorus of surprise guest vocalists: the audicence. These people greet me now as they did not greet me then. They did not recognize me last evening, because I wore my own face instead of Mimi's. My own face is unremarkable, unmemorable. Mimi's is beautiful. I bask in the abundant love that is meant for Mimi. There is enough.
I wear my new hot pink velvet unitard. An actor describes me as a bright spot of color on a gloomy day. It is a good day for cheerful colors, including hot pink. I spot several rose sellers, attired in "patron garb" of shirts and jeans. There will not be much business today. A forlorn girl, a melancholy young actress, sits, dampened, under the shelter of the German Encampment tent. She holds her arms out sadly to be hugged. I hug, sending sympathy and cheer.
A falafel sandwich seems like a good lunch, and, though the tanziki dressing sounds wonderful, sour cream and cucumber and dill, I opt for the tahini, which is sesame with lemon and garlic, also good, and lactose-free. I follow the sounds of bagpipes to a spot near the Dragon Inn, rest my cup on a rock, and settle to watch the pipe band. Pompons whirl and puff against huge drums. Drone is not an ugly word. A lone pipe plays the first verse of Amazing Grace. For the second verse, the whole troupe of pipes joins in, a dozen or more. Shivers prickle up and down my spine. I am not alone in feeling touched. Patrons stand, mouths ajar, entranced. The clouds part, and a shaft of sunlight shines thorough. A man at the bottom of the hill in a tropical print shirt spreads his arms wide and tips his face to the heavens. I cannot see his face, but know that he is beautiful.
I see many, so many, beautiful people today. In fact, everyone I see is beautiful. Are they? Or do I see them beautiful because I love them? In which case, it is certain that the beauty of the world can be noticed and appreciated by those whose eyes and minds and hearts are filled with love.
I smell like Ken again. I believe he is coming to look forward to our daily embrace almost as much as I do. Again he feels fragile in my arms. Is he still Ken? Coco asks. Yes. A quiet and subdued version of Ken, but still Ken.
On my way to stilt up, I see Victor's kid- I don't know her name- carrying an empty pretzel rack, back for a refill, I presume. There is Victor, with the pickle and pretzel cart. He sees me watching his daughter as she walks. She cannot be more than nine. I indicate how tall she is getting. Victor laughs, and says, "Taller than you, soon." I shake my head and go to put on stilts. I will be taller than everyone for a while.
As I strap up, I hear a bagpiper tuning, practicing. I love Scottish Weekend. Oh, excuse me, I am showing my age again; it has been "Celtic Weekend" for a number of years now. Whatever it's called, I love it.
The site is treacherous and spongy. Gigi, sick as she is, has heeded my advice to stay short today--- not that it did her much good. She took a nasty tumble on a slippery wooden step earlier today, and will have a colorful bruise on her bum to show for it. Or, to not show. No, I imagine she will show it, at that. At least to me. There are so few patrons on site today that I'm sure I can entertain most of them by myself, on my stilts, in bright pink stiltpants. I feel badly leaving gopher holes for patrons to step into, to trip on.
Today, I steal my first and second hats from the Security team, donning them and folding my arms, assuming the I'm-Security-don't-mess-with-me stance. I sell the hats back to their owners, for kisses. Buddy The Beer Guy, wide as he is tall, grins at me. His white hair stands out against the grey brown of everything else on site. I lean down, he walks up to the fourth stair at Middleton's Tavern in order to reach me for a hug. How many years have I known this man?
A man my own age, or perhaps a bit younger falls flamboyantly in love with me- scratch that- with Mimi. He swoons and sighs, makes eyes and blows kisses. I am tickled by his sillyness. Later, when I am short, I see him again. He walks with me for a time, flirting extravagantly and making absurd protestations of passion and committment. I pretend to believe him, and flirt back in the same vein, because that's the game and I enjoy playing.
BelovedJohn will be coming home to spend the night in my guest room. I seek him out, knowing that he is relaxing, pre-show, behind Royal Stage. How to get back there? I have never been behind Royal Stage, or maybe once, so long ago I don't remember. I head into the Wine Garden, find an exit, and am instantly in a fairy bower of leaves above and ferns below, a tiny stream running through the untamed brush. Carefully, I pick my way down, through, under, over, find a pile of broken cinder blocks (from the Cruel and Unusual show) against a fallen tree. I hear a chuckle. "There's an easier way to get back here," he says. "I'm sure there is, but I didn't know where to find it, " I say, keeping to myself how much I treasured this tiny journey into wild magic space. "I'll go that way when I leave," I tell him, when he indicated the pathway. Does BelovedJohn need directions to my house, will he follow me home? No, he has the way to my front porch down to a science, he says, and will come along after he has dinner with his brother. Good.
I look forward to it, knowing he and I will keep each other up far too late chatting metaphysics long into the night. I am excited. We're nearly out of bubble juice, so afternoon bubbles at the gate are cut short. Max has a snack, wants to take off his makeup, see Uncle John at our house. Before BelovedJohn's arrival, I must feed dinner to Fluffy, and before feeding him, we must go on a quest- a Quest!- for glycerin for the bubble juice. It is very hard to find.
I sigh and let go of my lovely Rain Day- but oh! one last gift: the sky. Clouds press down upon the horizon in layers like sedimentary rock, stratospheric sediment in shades of blue and grey. Sun shines on trees with that unearthly prestorm glow that I never have a camera ready to capture. Ah, no matter; I have my pen.