Saturday, August 23, 2008

Away in Chestertown, Part 1

I am sitting in the kitchen of the big house upstate, where Circus AMOK comes to put our show together every year. It's a flurry of work and conversations--work happening amid conversation, conversations about work, working through misunderstood conversations. I often forget, since most of the year our circus is a smaller team, just how many people it takes to get the thing on the road. Three, maybe four others arrive tomorrow--mainly "art people" which is our code for people who paint, sew, make things, design, or any combination of those skills. I'm not one of them.

We arrived on Thursday, after a horrendously long day of packing and travel--none of it was particularly impossible in any certain way, but everything took longer than we had planned (duh) and eventually, 14 hours after I woke up, we arrived at this beautiful barn, which they made into a house years ago. It feels like we've been here for a week--but it's only Saturday evening. The time is compressed--the same faces, the same images, the same geography. There is no "going to work" or "coming home," and in that way the entire week feels like a single experience. You don't move in different social circles up here, know what I mean? You are never invisible to the rest of the group.

After our afternoon work sessions, we go swimming in the lake, which is just cold enough. It's bracing, but welcome. I like how we sort of take over the small beach there, with our crazy gender-bending troupe and people of all ages. I see the locals watching us, unsure of who we are, what we are, what to make of us. Most of the time I think that, in the end, they think nothing that concrete.

I managed to talk our cook into letting me make a carrot thing tonight--she had the idea, and then I sort of knew a recipe that I thought would work out better--and so she let me go for it. Carrots, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Oh, the carrots are steamed and then it all goes into the food processor. I don't know what the exact recipe is. Just everything to taste. The troupe sort of scoffed at it -- but it's all gone.

Now they're serving up the peach kuchen--plus a blueberry sauce made with the syrup that I lugged up here from the city. Work, in the right form, is so fulfilling.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Fulfillment at work is an important, and often overlooked, aspect of life that seems to ellude so many people. Personally, I take it very seriously. What do we have to contribute to the greater good if not our passion and talent? In today's society, outward appearance and the perception that we are makign a differnce seems to go hand in hand with happiness. I stress the word perception because that's what seems to be driving most of us.

Does my neightbor, family, friends, the guy beside me at the light in his BMW drinking his starbucks and yapping on his bluetooth about the latest and greatest "thing", and so on think I am sucessful? Dare I say, rich? Define rich.....I would say.

I want to tell you how much I admire your drive. Personally, I can't tell you how many people, when I tell them what I do, have a confused look on their face and don't really know how to respond. You know the look? The one that says, "I just changed my opinion about you", even if only slightly. Good or bad, that's for them to decide. I don't care. I can sleep at night and provide for my family. I find that fulfilling. I am reminded again of a quote from Edward Abbey, my favorite auther, who said, "Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an inner tube; there are some things one would rather have done than do."

I am glad to see you are doing. On with the show!