chantico: (Relieved)
I've been working at AuthorSolutions for three weeks now. The number one thing about having a full time job? My god, the time just melts away. Three weeks has passed quicker than silver.

***

This year was the second time I visited the Fun Frolic (the June carnival sponsored by the university for charity) as an passing adult. When I was a little bit, the summer had two major markers of time: Fun Frolic time and County Fair time. Screw 4th of July-- these were the holidays where it was *at*. Only my birthday was better. So returning was a necessary goodbye, before I prepare to leave Bloomington sometime in the next year.

It was not fun, folks. There was no frolic. It was deeply depressing, a broken eggshell of a childhood dream. See what I remember was . . . well, every joyous night-time carnivale image you can think. Cotton candy handed to waiting parents, ten spins on the Tilt-a-Whirl, crushed hips from the Scrambler and all the lights your eyes could take. This . . . atrocity . . . this charlatan thing had, like, five terrifying rides and a lot of drunk teenagers. No parents with children, unless they were also drunk teenagers. Scary people running the games who yelled very rude things.

I am *convinced* that my nostalgia wasn't just, well, nostalgia. That place was awesome and lived up to its moniker, dammit. I swear to god it did.

So I tested my memory against my other Rite of Summer. I went to the fair.

Heat exhaustion aside (seriously, with a few days out, we have had weather that was both more humid *and* hotter than New Orleans and the Amazon rainforest for two weeks) the fair was a sweet and kind reminder than wasn't crazy. It was smaller than I remember, but anything will be when you've got three feet in height on your last visit, but it was no less pleasant. all the rides I remembered from the Fun Frolic had migrated to the fair, freshly painted and well maintained. There many crowds. We looked at scrapbooks, and pet goats. I got to hold a game bird, who wandered around the poultry barn on the shoulder of his 9-year-old owner. Yeah, we left sick and dizzy from the heat, and didn't even take our chances on any of the rides (save, of course, the Ferris Wheel), but it was worth it just to mark in my head that not all dreams have to be proved lies. Sometimes, that joy is still there.
chantico: (Pausing)
I remember what Spring used to mean for me, way back in those olden golden days of youth. Spring meant school was almost done, spring meant new shoes, and spring meant time spent out Lothlorien, before we ever moved out there. In March the work parties would start, where we kids were released into the wilds while our parents and small groups of volunteers prepared the festival field for the upcoming summer season. Sometimes we were given duties, mostly picking up sticks along the paths through Faerie (also known as the valley, for the unfamiliar) or helping mulch and weed the gardens. When we were a little bit older, it became pruning orchard trees, mowing, making sandwiches for everybody and sometimes helping with construction, which was the coolest thing ever for most of us. Mostly, however, it was stretching our legs and our muscles in the new sunlight, helping prepare a place we loved for the invetible swarm of faces old and new. That, really, was what Spring was a herald of: Festivals.

Allow me to put on nostalgia cap: man, I miss festivals. When you're 6, 7, 8, 9, what on earth could be cooler than the several times a year when hundreds of strangers would throw up a tent city for three days, and you got to be there? It was magic, and I really mean that. I remember playing hide and seek in the endless sea of colorful tents and tarps, walking down Merchant's row and staring wide-eyed at goods that were exotic to my tiny self then as an alien bazaar would be now. Chasing each other through the woods and down to the swimming hole to join other revelers escaping the summer heat. The smell of cooking, wood fires and leaves. A whole world moved into our Lothlorien for a weekend, and when I play games Final Fantasy and other RPGs, and I see those little towns they design, I smile, because that is what it felt like to me then. A village-- naked hippies, community kitchens, space-rock bands and all. I guess it's not normal for most kids to have poignant memories of watching people covorting around a bonfire to drums, or leading tours to Ancestor's Shrine, or sitting in on workshops on where Buddism and Photovoltaics meet, but I can think of few things that feel so much like home.

I miss the days before the drama-- or before I was aware of it, I guess. I might be outed as a dirty hippy for saying this, but I will always remember and crave the feeling of being lifted off the ground, hand in hand with two strangers, as 200 of us spiral danced and called the directions.

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chantico

May 2014

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