31 October, 2003

Autumn Delicious

Another crisp bright day. It is a peculiarity of this area that we have precious little in the way of spring, but a fine, fine autumn. Green trees are dipped in golden honey, rolled in red spices, baked brown by bright days, all at once. The air smells of earth and leaves and mountains and worms and air.

Red vines twine through quivering hedge, overgrown this summer into jungle madness, now a bright woodland bower, full of elvish sprites who paint the scenery at night.

30 October, 2003

Season's Cusp

Sunlight dapples patterns in the yards adjoining mine; through a chill glass wall I watch morning shadow retreat. Golden light gilds trees with giant brush. Northfacing window allows me not sunrise, but its effects. No crickets left alive to chirp me a good morning, the only birdsong harsh fastmoving voice of passing crows. Autumn has arrived, and with it, the anticipation of biting winter, breath visible, pinching rosy the exposed cherub cheeks of children. Autumn has arrived, and with it, the sad farewell to beachy heatdrenched days and heavy, scent-laden nights, alive with tiny creatures. Autumn has arrived. The world is now an apple, hard, crunchy, flavorful, dripping with juice. Dig hands and fingers, face and feet deep into delicious.

29 October, 2003

Names, Notions

When I went back to the orthopoedist, David joked with us and quizzed us on sports trivia. He was very entertaining, and knowledgeable about Ravens details, so the whole process was much more fun than it might have been. I did not like the loud buzzy thing that cut through the old cast, and found the ankle and foot to be incredibly sore. Hawk tenderly cleaned my leg, foot and toes with alcohol pads before David returned to recast me.He showed me my breaks on a model skeleton. It turns out that I have two broken bones in my leg, the fibula right at the ankle area, and the tibia, just above the heelbone, or talus. Also, I have broken my right radial head and something called a pisiform, which is in the wrist area, I guess. I checked out some impressive two-week old bruising along both sides and the bottom of my foot, making very clear to me why I haven't yet been able to take a step on my left foot.

Then we rode out, in the pouring rain, to the Ren Fest site. Hawk's notion was that I could blow bubbles from the gate, the way I wanted to do, but the rain was too fierce. He rolled me into the office to chat with Jules for a bit while he checked if he could bring home my Flambe trunk in the car. No. It was too big. Well. So home we went, but it was nice to get out, nice to visit, nice to commiserate with Jules about restrictions and interesting baths, from his hip surgery, which created a two foot incision. Wow. I thought I had troubles. Anyway, I told Jules I wanted closure, to get back on the wall and blow bubbles again, complete the cycle, even if it was the wrong wall. In his dry Minnesota way he replied, "Well, it doesn't have to be today." Which was absolutely right.

That's something I am learning: it doesn't have to be today.

27 October, 2003

Cleansing Shower

I slept last night with the window open, hearing sporatic patter of rainfall, periodic song of freshwashed birds, wondering if the rain had the power to rinse from me my excess of emotion. And here in the morning, it's safely grey, no need to make an effort to smile in the sunshine...which has been sorely lacking lately, probably a good portion of my problem.

My hero has returned, to fill my heart with joy, my home with laughter and my arms with his expansive thumping chest of comfort. He pours all his efforts into my care and keeping as he has for the last twenty years, helps me in ways he doesn't notice by knowing what I want before I ask, and since my injury has not once made That Face, when he sighs and rolls his eyes and says, "Yes, Dear."

Lucky woman, me.

26 October, 2003

Explaining Depression

It's impossible to impress on someone who has never experienced depression just what an awful, agonizing thing it is to feel ones self sliding, sliding backward into the pit, fighting and clawing every inch of the way, hoping to get enough sun, enough love, enough laughter or fun or something, anything, to check it, stop it, halt the slide, because once you fall into the pit, chances are pretty grim of a rapid escape or rescue.

And then there you are, at the bottom, crying, screaming, gibbering, and no one wants to come near the edge of the gorge to help you because they are frightened of the monster that's howling down there, frightened, and so am I; I'm frightened of the monster howling down there, even knowing the monster is me.

It's impossible for me to go anywhere on my own, and incredibly difficult to even get outside. When I do, it's to be rolled to a car, packed in like useless, outdated, scruffy luggage filled with clothing no one wants anymore, and driven to some other building. The process reverses, then repeats when it's time to put me back in my box, my cage, my trap. The trap I service and load with cream cheese bagels for the mini-mice who, through no fault of theirs, are trapped here with me, poor things.

Needed? A drive out to the site. A stroll, or even a roll, through the fallen burnished leaves. Assistance getting up to the wall, on the wall, check the direction of the breeze: help dipping the wand and wafting it around. There will be no patrons to ooh and ahh at my giant lovely bubbles, to applaud my return to my rightful post, but I will somehow, please, God, somehow, complete the cycle, bring closure to my Faire season in my own strange way. I need that, need it like breath, like life.

I am not living now. I endure. I am not enjoying this. I get no joy from it, and certainly am bringing none to anyone else. There's my task, then: figure how to bring joy despite my cramped and restless condition.

And I will. How? I don't know. But I will. I must.

24 October, 2003

Broken Inspiration

And is it within the realm of possibility that this happened so I have something new to write about? I like this, though I'm not about to send it to Poetry.Com.


cold porcelain against
my naked back
before warm fill
a chilly safety

no rubber duckie toy
but tools aplenty
a cup
a cloth
two plastic
garbage bags

arm and leg held up
lean backward awkward in the bath

inquisicat slinks in
wondering what
his stupid human is about

no soak of luxury
but clean
funny all the things
i never thought of

23 october 2003

21 October, 2003

Breaking Mimi

Mimi Takes a Break

I'm standing on the front gate wall at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival, blowing bubbles from this eight or ten foot elevation. Leaning over to redip my bubble wand, I stumble, lose my footing and start to go down, holding simultaneously in my mind the thoughts, 'I don't believe this is happening to me' and 'well, here we go.' I make a desperate grab for the wall on my headfirst way down, managing to turn myself right side up, leaving my left foot to take the brunt of the impact against the asphalt.

I raise my face from the pavement, thinking, 'I hope someone saw this and will come to my aid, because I am NOT calling out for help. And I don't think I can get up by myself.' Within moments, a PARF performer is at my side, reassuring me, telling me he's already called First Aid and that they are sending the cart around for me. He says they'll wrap me and splint me and ice me. It is just ten o'clock, and I wonder how quickly this can be done, as I have stage shows at ten thirty and noon. I have been on duty half an hour. When the First Aid team arrives, the performer has gone, replaced by a member of the Production staff, Nate, who holds my hand and hugs me when I start to shake. First Aid suggests an ambulance, and I shake my head, then quickly put my head between my knees to combat the blackness swimming across my vision. "If you pass out, we're required to send you to the hospital. You hit your head," First Aid warns. I hold my fingers apart a small distance, and wave away concern for my skull, for my head hit last of all, and I am more worried about my wrist and ankle. They offer oxygen, and I shrug, thinking, 'this will mess up my makeup.' Nate and the others lift me to my foot and help me into the cart. I want ice, elevation and compression for my ankle, but do not raise it outside the cart until well out of sight of the children streaming in for this School Day. I turn my face away, not wanted them to see Mimi in an oxygen mask. Aside from feeling stupid for falling, I feel guilty for being an inconvenience when everyone has so much to do.

At the First Aid station, we are met by my friend Brian, who says that he's got my stage spots covered. I ask for my shoes, cardigan, bag of stuff. He promises to see to it, hurrying off to get props from his car. They lie me down and get me out of my boot. It's bad. An ambulance is advised again; "this looks like a break," and he points to a certain lump on my leg. I ask them to remove the other boot for comparison. There is a matching bump on the other leg, but they still advise x-rays, and can't wrap the ankle when there's any doubt about breakage. They call Cliff, who's a doctor, for backup. Cliff is the performer who first helped me. Cliff also advises x-rays. I hesitate, then mention my uninsured status, which is not an uncommon state among full-time performers. An ambulance will simply be another expense, I fear. And there's no way I can drive myself. Within a few minutes, while icing my ankle and splinting it with a pillow, they have a driver for me, if I'll agree to go to the hospital. Alex helps me go to the bathroom, as it's not easy to struggle out of a unitard with a bum wing. She removes my costume, and wipes away the remnants of my white makeup after I've done my best with her jar of Vaseline.

My ride is here. I meet Lynn, who paints signs for the shire. It turns out that Lynn is going to stay with me the whole time, as my advocate. It turns out that the van, the lush, leather-lined van I'm riding in, belongs to Chuck, the owner. He has loaned it for my benefit. It turns out that the whole fair will be waiting for news of my condition. On the twelve mile ride to Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, PA, I begin making calls to rearrange everything that I had planned past two-thirty. I do this some more from the hospital, where I have a surprisingly comfortable five hour visit. This cannot go under Workman's Compensation, as I am a private contractor. I sign a Hold Harmless agreement along with my contact with PARF, just as I do at every other Fair I work. I am listed as Self Pay, which I determine to not fret over right this minute. It is determined that I have three fractures: right elbow and wrist, and left ankle. I am slung, splinted and 'scripted, with the advice to get the scrip filled in PA; it may not be good across state lines. Lynn and I return to the site, where someone waits at "my" stage to load my things into the car that I manage to drive across the site with my right foot and left hand. It's Nate. Ginny, the Assistant Director, who is in charge of Independent Acts, checks up on me, gives me her cell phone number, hugs me, as does Dee, wife of Chuck, and Director of Operations. I thank her, ask her to convey my thanks to Chuck for the use of his van. "We'll see you next year," everyone promises. I express surprise to Ginny at this outpouring of kindness, since I'm just here on School Days, and this is only my third season. "You're one of our own now," she tells me. That's a very nice feeling.

15 October, 2003

Counting Blessings

here's the thing: i don't feel distressed at all! it's weird, but other than whining about not being able to finish out renfest, i have not FOR ONE MOMENT felt sorry for myself! it was as though this event were predetermined. I may have fallen, but I landed on a cushion of love.

in the first minutes after the event, the universe realigned itself with the sole intent of offering me love and support. i have been so well taken care of that i am amazed. yes, it's going to be hard not driving for three to six weeks, but people have been popping up from everywhere to do things for me.

the financial issues won't improve with worry, so i won't. scheduled activities i am taking one day at a time, seeing if i can find rides for the childrens' dance classes, wondering how to manage the class i teach on thursdays.

so here i am, broken but still good. and just stunned at the breadth and depth of love being show to me from all corners. i don't feel injured, somehow. i feel blessed.

12 October, 2003

Stupid Accident

Friday, 10 October

Stupid Accident

I messed up big time. Went to PA on Friday 10 October, and took a header off the 12- foot front gate wall while doing bubbles, at 10 AM.

I fractured my right elbow and left ankle, and sprained right shoulder through wrist, as I had made a desparate grab for the wall on my way down, which my chewed up palm can attest. Doing so may have saved my neck, literally, since the landing surface is unkind asphalt.

Mother and C drove up to get me, driving the car home for me, as I couldn't, and Hawk returned home from the road in time to be on kid duty and Welcome Wagon Committee, for Hilby and his two nine-year-old sidekicks. The house has been full of concerned family and friends, including BelovedJohn. I had to call out hurt at Maryland but wound up being part of the Cast Party show anyway.

08 October, 2003

Saturday. 27 September

Day 12 of Maryland Renaissance Festival, Romance Weekend

It seems packed, but it's only crowded by Market Stage, where the Singles games and message board are happening. The patrons are wonderful, the weather is hot and fine, and Martin stays up the entire time he's at the show, getting down at four-thirty to buy fish and chips. Oh, he breaks, and changes shirts, but never once untapes himself from his stilts. He is irritated because someone, another performer, has challenged his legitimacy, due to some "unRenaissance" details of his costuming and props. He wasn't wearing a badge, but had read his contract VERY carefully, and did not know he was supposed to.

He permits me to fuss over him, and feed him. He asks for very little. He ate eggs and a bagel this morning, saying that if he had a really good breakfast, he would be all right. One egg or two? Scrambled or fried? Toast or bagel? Butter or cream cheese? He considered each choice carefully. I give him an apple now, which he accepts.

He is so beautiful at rest, sitting peaceful and pensive. I cannot resist a few shots, wonder if I am catching on camera the expression I see before my eyes.

Ginny says I have the spirit of a 350 pound black woman. She demonstrates, mimicking me: "Come ovah heah, chile! Siddown, lemme git you some eggs. Yo' too skinny, c'mon have sumpin ta eat. You got sumpin on yo' face right there, lemme git that fo' you. Give you some love, got to c'mere an' let Mamma squeeze you all up!" I laugh, because it’s true. This woman’s name is Beulah. I have an icon.

After our stilt tour, Ginny asks me, Any highlights? No. There are none. Which is in itself very unusual. Once in awhile, it is work, I suppose. We spot Martin working in the streets. He is, to use his word, brilliant. Lurk is quite a character, and I am not the only one amazed.

When we finish at four-thirty, I scurry. Martin, who has streamlined everything for ease of travel, is finished his fish by the time Garrett and I are packed up. I know John will be joining the family later, and can't really worry about dinner, so I trust that Hawk, who is home, will find something to feed my friends, as I have a Murder Mystery to do.

After a quick shower, I head up to the Chesapeake Arts Center for a performance of a new show, An Award Winning Murder, which we rehearsed twice and should be fine on, but I am frantic and jittery and cannot calm down. The audience enjoys us, but CJ and I felt the whole cast was scattered and slightly off.

Afterwards, I go for one beer, and lean against Dan, who is kind and accommodates my need for touch. Food takes a long time coming, and I am weary and headed for home before it arrives. Fortunately, I had not ordered any. I look forward to an evening wrapped in big trucker arms, ensconced in the depths of a warm waterbed. I do not get it.

I haven't written anything since, I don't know, Wednedsday, I guess, so it isn't really a huge surprise that I get kept awake by a poem that won't go away. Combined with the jitters that I had so badly I was shaking, which haven't entirely disappated, I am exhausted and unable to sleep. I lie still, letting the poem soak in, figuring I'll write it down in the morning. Pogo, the elderly dog, barks, giving me an excuse to get up and write the poem down. She gives me so many excuses to get up all night that I don't really settle down until 5:30, waking again at 7:15 to prepare breakfast for a houseful.