Thursday, August 30, 2012

The growing autumn

I had a beautiful dream this morning, just before I woke up.

The dream's setting was a spot that my friends and I used to visit when we were in high school. It would usually be three of us--me and two others--but sometimes another would join us, too. We would spend full days up there, climbing trees, talking, playing games. It was a special spot only we knew about.

Years later, one of those friends is now my husband. Just this past week, he and I took a visit to this spot to see if it was still there. While a large quarry has formed nearby, disturbing some of the peace and removing a large part of the path to the spot, the spot itself remained completely in tact. A circle of stones rested perfectly at its entrance, almost undisturbed by time, save for a few fallen branches. A staff from years before was sitting by a tree, the only hint of time being the light moss that had begun to cover it. One of the biggest differences from before was a collection of multicoloured mushrooms that had popped up here and there--some of them were bright orange, though we also found a few black-purple ones.

In this dream, I was alone, walking through the area and gazing up at the trees and sky. For some reason, I could see the sky a little better than I could if I were really there. It was the bright blue of a clear day, with only a few white, fluffy clouds. A large spruce tree heavy with cones towered over me. In my dream, I thought to myself that I should go there alone more often. It was cut short when I woke up, but it lasted long enough to leave me with a pleasant mental image.

Maybe it was the pure blue of the sky, but something made me think of summer. When I woke up, I was met with the jarring darkness that comes from the end of August: the sunrise coming later in the morning--the orange-gold morning light that comes from a waning existence. Seeing light of that colour reminds me of a section of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead:

GUIL: It's autumnal.
ROS: (examining the ground) No leaves.
GUIL: Autumnal -- nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth -- reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere, by repute. Yesterday was blue, like smoke.

The last days of summer are melting away, but 21 days of September remain before the equinox hits and the summer is considered truly over.  Those 21 days still have a remaining possibility to them, as though there is still so much left to accomplish. Though it's all but officially over, I'm still not ready to give the summer up. I didn't always (or, really, ever) like summer as a child, but now that I'm an adult I have grown to really love it. I'm not even sure why. Maybe I just need a good winter hobby to get me through the rougher months.

Do you have any plans while it's still warm? Maybe you enjoy the fall and winter months and you're looking forward to the cooler weather. I went canoeing and hiking with the hubby earlier on this week, and I'm hoping we can squeeze in one last full beach visit before.

I also wouldn't mind having another pretty dream like last night's, but  I suppose I could do that any time of year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An open letter to the guy who almost ran me over this morning

Dear Sir,

This morning, as I was walking to work, I stopped at a busy intersection to press the walk light and wait for my turn to cross. It came on immediately, and so I started crossing.

About half way there, I turned to see you suddenly veering around the corner. I know that you also had the right of way, but I'm afraid you weren't really paying any attention, even as I stood there (I had to stop for you) and pointed at the walk light! As you passed you seemed to be having a particularly animated conversation with the lady beside you. I'm sure you didn't even see me in your rear view mirror--did you look in your rear view mirror?--as you sped away.

I'm glad one of us was paying attention. I just wish it had been the one operating the 1 ton piece of machinery.

The unfortunate part of this is that it happens all too often. I'm not talking about distracted driving, though that's certainly an issue. I'm talking about utter disregard for anyone traveling on foot. Here in Moncton, the pedestrian's rights are few and far between, and when we do get the right of way, our time is either short or interrupted by drivers who also have the right of way. Even if we push a button on one of the many non-intersection crosswalks in the city, it's hard to say if we'll make it to the other side of the road without having to stop and let a car go by. Yes, it's the driver's fault if we're hit, but how many people honestly want to play chicken with a motor vehicle?

I'm not saying the pedestrians should retaliate by walking in the middle of the road at any given time, though some do. I'm saying that the time has come for pedestrians to be a priority for drivers. We all lead very busy lives, but that extra 30 seconds that could be getting you to work a little earlier could also save someone's life.

Sir, you were not on your phone, and you weren't texting, but you certainly weren't watching the road. Please have a bit more consideration for the world around you.

Not-so-fond regards,
The blue-haired pedestrian you somehow missed this morning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

...Like an airy spirit go...

Was it all just a dream?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in another of Hubcity Theatre's performances. This year, we did A Midsummer Night's Dream for our yearly Shakespeare in the Park staging, and I took on the role of Puck, Oberon's jester. Funnily enough, my husband, Brad, assumed the roles of Theseus and Oberon, meaning that he was the one I had the most personal interaction with--and sometimes it got a little violent!

For a little while, this play was less like an airy dream and more like a nightmare, and I'll tell you why.

We had a condensed rehearsal schedule. And by this, I mean that in early July we were having about 5 rehearsals a week, on top of what we all do in our normal lives. I rope myself into doing this every summer, even though I value my free time more than most. This year was a little more strenuous that previous years, since we had to be in rehearsal so much more leading up to it. All of my free evenings were taken by rehearsal and, more often than not, I would go straight home from rehearsal, go to bed, and then get up the next morning to start all over again.

Somewhere, in the shuffle of losing free time, frustration over various play-related things and extreme physical exhaustion, I managed to completely lose myself. Around dress rehearsal time, I started having fun. When opening night in Sackville came, I was back to enjoying the process. When opening night in Moncton came, and 215 people showed up to watch the show, that's when the dreamlike quality of the experience started to kick in.

At closing night, we removed our (considerably sweat-laden) costumes for the final time and let out a collective cheer. We had done it. It had been a roaring success. Long, late rehearsals in mosquito-filled parks had paved the way for what was truly a fantastic show. The cast and crew ushered their way to our house for the cast party, where we ate ourselves into a stupor and reminisced about some of our favourite parts of the play. We talked late into the night, and when we went to bed, we woke up the next morning, finding it suddenly over.

I'm an introvert. I don't really like hanging out with people. I like my space. But if you expose me to a situation long enough, I will gradually warm up to it, to the point of enjoying it. I become, for a brief week or so, an extrovert. And right now, I find myself missing the people I met and spent so many hours with this summer. I've even had dreams about this play, and I'm left wondering if it really happened. I find myself liking posts on Facebook and staring longingly at pictures, and looking in every direction for a chance at stumbling across some of these people when I'm out in public.

When I'm exposed to a situation like that, I go from resisting it to embracing it. I'll spend the week thereafter in a fog induced by the glory that was the performance week. I'll randomlyrealise little things, like "hey, a week ago was our closing night in Sackville" (it was!). The days will slip on and the reminiscing will finally disappear for now, to hopefully be brought up again next year.

I had a dream ("past the wit of man to say what dream it was") that I spoke some of my lines, then flew into the air. It was a brief dream, but its magical qualities reminded me, in waking, of the week that had passed so quickly. A week of adventures in Sackville, moving on to Moncton and praying for good weather. And then, it was back to reality, and back to work, for me. That fleeting, beautiful, dreamlike week.

In the retail world, we're suddenly hearing talk of "back to school" and "fall collections". But it's only August! We still have about a month and a half of summer left! Just in the past few weeks, the heat has reached its peak. It seems sad that we spend our remaining summer days wishing the summer away, especially since it's such a short season in this part of the world. We are but in midsummer, meaning we have the rest of the summer ahead of us yet. Embrace it and find that lingering flicker of magic. It's not over.

Photo by Albert Arseneau. For more information about Hubcity Theatre, check out their Facebook page.