Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Summer: here and gone - part one

Summer has flown by.  It has been a wonderful season that has not quite finished yet.  One more gig at Mount Washington where I have spent many Friday evenings entertaining the guests.  It is advertised as a family event and families come in all shapes, sizes and ages, which is always fun.  Trying to figure out what to tell for each very different group is sometimes a challenge and always a joy.  I found out, a few years ago when I began working at Mount Washington that it is hard trying to have a plan and sticking to it.  The kids are too young, too old, too fidgety, too serious, too silly (I know, how can kids be too silly?) or too something!  Sometimes I would have very young children who wanted bedtime stories, sometimes older children who wanted horror stories, sometimes both.  It is one of the things that I am pretty strict about - not to send kids away frightened.  I do not want to traumatize a kid, or have the guardian call me up at 4 am yelling at me!  That would be no fun for anyone!

One week when I was there the kids just wanted to play rolling down the hill, so the parents sat with me and I got to tell deeper, richer, longer stories than I usually am able to.  A few of the older kids gravitated to the stories and joined us.  It was like we were in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, swapping stories, or food in a long ago time.  But it wasn't a long ago time, it was a few weeks ago, around a square "fire pit" powered by propane, outside a large and beautiful lodge.  But none of That was real.  The reality was the in stories.  The moment was in the stories.  I have to say it was brilliant.

We had a fox visit most weeks I was there.  He (I think) would trot out and sit and listen, about 10 - 15 feet away but when the folks sitting around the fire got nervous, stood and began talking in loud voices he (or maybe she) would leave.  S/he was either listening to the stories, or waiting for the s'mores! Maybe both!  Two weeks ago, we got to see mother bear, and she wasn't so little, nor was she that far away either.  She came along the tree line trotting having most likely fed from fishes in the stream at the back of the hotel.  But she came trotting along, and stopped for a while, but she was asked to leave by security and she obliged, grateful for the flashing lights to show her the way into the woods.  And then there was a coyote waiting for me on the way home, just watching to see I was driving safely which I was.

There have been a couple of camps I have worked at during the summer too.  One was CAMP!  It is only one night, but it is one of the best nights I have storytelling all year. CAMP! is a place I have been going to for about 6 years now.  It is set up for Vermont kids of migratory families.  These kids are challenged in many ways, and to share stories with them each year is an absolute joy.  And I get to work with some wonderful councilors. Two performances, the later one around a camp fire until almost 10 pm. This year I went on until my voice was almost gone!

Anyway, Halloween is fast approaching and I want to get some new stories and I want to work on another story - it is pretty much there, but needs some care and polish!