093. fireworks and dancing angels.


Fourth of July at camp is an experience. Loud, ten-foot-high sparklers being lit and kicked over, caution tape fluttering a few feet in front of us. We ooh, we ahh, we cough at the copious smoke the wind blows in our faces. Then, the bonfire.

I remember being told that, if I looked into a big fire, “you’ll see angels dancing”. Last night was one of those times I believed it. The blaze was, in the terms of everyone else in the shop, “probably six meters high”. It was glorious, mesmerizing. The most amazing part was the dervish of smoke, as high as the flames themselves, whirling and courting the blaze. All of the smoke was funneled into the twister, none of it in our faces. Fireflies of sparks lit some grass and fireworks containers.

Dar Williams was possibly the most singularly amazing event. She was a petite woman, so absolutely real. Her little son and Mickey’s son played together, she sang and answered questions, she listened to three campers original songs, and she let us babble at her with humor and grace. She sneezed during the babysitter, she paused for a truck going by, her voice rose and fell, and her songs were all the more powerful for it. Just. Gah.

Reality can be the biggest killer of childhood idols. Alternatively, it can make them human, and for their humanity all the more admirable. I am even more in love with the woman now, from the way she’d give back story to a song to her impression of a five year old. It was incredible.

Also, we went to see Twelfth Night. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was on the Hudson river. Only, when I say “on”, I mean “overlooking”. And by “overlooking” I mean “holy-shit-we-can-see-everything”. Beautiful mountains and the river, huge boats passing far far in the valley, trees overlooking the sheer drop. We passes through an apple orchard, a rose garden with a fountain, and even so we were unprepared for the view. We all gasped, staring across the lawn at the Hudson, the mountains, everything misty and wonderful, a tree standing at the edge before the drop, old, tall, twisted but still green and quite alive. The house was probably someone’s ancestral home, and the grounds held all the carefully cultivated beauty that money could buy. Each rose was named (“Cary Grant” “Friendship” ect.), hybrid tea roses and more.

The place was mind-blowingly beautiful – the play was held in a tent, arena seating, all three sides. They used the pace, waling up from the paths visible in the distance, biking (yes, there was a bicycle) away across the lawn. The players sung and strummed, the actors randomly interacted with the audience, and they played to us, not at us. It was a wonderful take, full of both thought and playfulness.


2 Responses to “093. fireworks and dancing angels.”

  1. 1 vividaudio

    GAH! It sounds so beautiful and amazing…

    I always take your writing for granted. Beautiful, descriptive words come to you so easily and its such an experience to read what you have to say. Honestly. You’re amazing.

    I’m still in awe that you saw Dar Williams. I never heard a song by her except for the couple you played for me, but the way you talked about her made me think she was some kind of superstar. And you know me, completely blown away by any celebrity. I mean, I was raving for weeks about how I had been within two feet of Mike Shinoda. He didn’t even say anything, just smiled, and I was like…OMG. But you attended a SONG WRITING WORKSHOP with one of your favorite singers. That’s magnificent. That’s absolutely superb.

    “Reality can be the biggest killer of childhood idols”

    Aint that the truth. You have no idea how upset I was when the facts started unraveling about Pee Wee Herman. What an interesting man he turned out to be…

    I would have died to see a Shakespeare performance onstage! *dies*

    So I’ve decided to start using this wordpress thing…and I kinda but not really pimped out my blog/about me stuff. Check it out!

    PS: Congratulations for spelling Cary Grant right. Mrs. McMinn, sadly, is incapable.

  2. 2 raalla

    See, I should have just -read- this before leaving two crazed comments on your previous post….I don’t actually listen to Dar Williams but sort of do thanks to Leah, so yeah. Some envy but not killer. I am glad you had funnn!

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