Here we are in Apache Junction. We are right next to a Renaissance Festival that we've both worked at for years as entertainers. This year life has nudged us gently but firmly toward greener pastures and away from a festival I've considered home for nine years.
It feels alien to carry a ticket. To walk in a gate you've rarely seen the front of, to watch friends deal with crowds that you are now a part of it was surreal. What name to introduce friends as? Character or real? How to compliment dear friends without costing them tips or sales?
It doesn't matter that we aren't there, other faces and performances are rippling the waters we once sailed. It won't be long before faded paint on a few benches is all that recalls the untold hours and love shared.
I prefer to thing instead of being a pair of beautiful rocks plummeting to the bottom of a fetid pool that we are comets. We aren't falling- we are flying and as we do we pass slowly through the orbits of the lives of friends giving them wishes, love and cartoon color memories of priceless audacity which we seem compelled to live out. Even those who dislike us, find reasons to tell stories about us. We inspire, we believe, we try even knowing that risk can lead to failure and we don't work with safety nets.
I watched Geoff Marsh, it's been a few years since I got to see his show- he's been working hard and he really is and ace on stage.
I watched my friends Shannon and Dana do comedy as Hey Nunnie Nunnie laughing at their vibrant personalities.
Nostalgia hit watching Don Juan and Miguel do their Weird Show, hearing Doug play music on a balloon always makes me think of autumn in North Carolina.
The antics of the Wyld Men and Senior Jimi kept a smile firmly planted on my face.
The hugs, the hugs, the hugs were the best though. Seeing the friends I call family and having them recognize me despite my cowgirl look was the best. The slow hug from my rock n roll Friar Larry will keep me smiling for days. If I started listing all the beautiful hearts I got to hug today I could still be listing names tomorrow. Instead, we're going back again to watch more friends and to appreciate another round of hugs!
In the renaissance world, a lot of the folks working may be living life without a net. They wouldn't trade their freedom, their laughter, or the tent they live in for four walls and electric- well, okay, maybe for a few months!
Not everyone working faire lives in a tent, many commute, have RVs or trailers. Some have quonsat huts, tipis, or yurts with impressive set-up that can even include wood stoves inside them.
A lot of rennies work multiple festivals, saving money as they can, they live as they choose- many making goods during the week that are sold or weekends. I've made jewelry, painted signs, painted wooden swords and wooden shields and made garlands as week work at different festivals. This beyond being painted on the weekends while telling stories to patrons of all ages for nine years!
I've definitely picked up a wide range in skills, from throwing hatchets to selling wax hands. I figure that makes the tail of my metaphorical comet flame all different colors.
Are you a comet? I'm not a shooting star, an ephemeral whisper that ends almost before it is recognized as being. I'm a comet, centuries past I would have changed the perception of those who saw me in the sky. Maybe I am doing my best to try for that now.
I think we all have the capacity to live brightly. Within us we are incandescent, we have intensity that we can choose to freely express. We can choose to connect. We can choose to be the wonder, the miracle that each of us needs to thrive. We have to be brave enough to fly.