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.