>Home-free-all

>Yesterday… what a strange combination of emotions.

WOW — the New York Times saying actual nice things about bone-head me. And me taking my still silent, grumpy son back to college — or at least I drove to the country house. (And yes, John McCain, I know how many houses I have, and, yes I know I am a very lucky person.) My husband, Zac, drove the rest of the way from the Hudson Valley to Skidmore College. Henry is still holding a grudge, and the ride north from the city — where I was bursting with excitement and happiness that we had a real honest to goodness NY Times article that might put butts in seats and make people notice this little opera after months of working for free — and well, the silence was chilling. I talked the entire time in my head, but it was sad.

After they drove off, I took back the little farmhouse from the renter ladies, making the nest my own again. Changing beds, doing more washing, tossing out weird renter food that is perfectly fine, but not mine. I then went out to touch plants, pull weeds, crush beetles and remember what wet earth feels like after a month of dark rehearsal spaces and late night bike rides home. I also fielded tears and confusion about rehearsal times; I dealt with egos on whose name appears where, and if middle names are used or why is former musician listed but not. . .

All told, it lets me know, again, that we are all fragile and all looking to be recognized for the little and large things we do.

After a romp through the woods with the cats, I collapsed into the hammock and fell asleep to find my husband standing over me, having waited, he said, for me to wake up so we could go get ice cream. OH, twist my arm. So we were off to Holy Cow. Can you make that up? We ate drippy sundaes in the shortening light and I tried to forget that in nine days, the show would go up, with lights and dance and music and all the cast members who have never even yet been to a single rehearsal… and I tried to stay calm and see it all working. All safe, all fine, all singing and then the audience applauding.

And in my head I will yell out “HOME-FREE-ALL!” Just like I did when I was ten and ran to hug the tree in dusky games of hide and seek.

When I went out to cut brambles and prune roses this morning, I let the big Maine Coon cat, Auggie, named for last month, lead me where he wanted to go. He wanted to walk in what our Scottish friends call the Dingly Dell. This is a path cut between blackberry brambles and a bogey hollow west of the house. It took me two years to cut this path through brambles and woods that resemble nothing short of Sleeping Beauty’s prison in the fairy tale. But I hacked with clippers and machete and now there is a path where mossy tufts and lazy tress leave a clearing for deer, intrepid humans and fearless cats to tread.

This morning, there were clear paths marked by the pointy hooves of deer and Auggie and I picked our way along. I wondered what the deer think when they smell us and I imagined this conversation between the doe and her spotted twin fawns I spy regularly making crepuscular leaps.

“Oh look, kids, that is the foot print of the human woman who made this path. You know the thing about humans, and the reason they are so dangerous, is that they have forgotten how to use their intuition. They know things, but will never use what they feel until they can connect it to something they have learned in books, or school.”

“What does that mean?” the smarter, small female fawn will say.

“It means they can’t tell if things are dangerous, or fun or wrong unless they learn them, not feel them.“

“That must be a hard way to live.”

I think they are right. And I am going to attempt to feel my way though this last bit of time until we open. Now it is 8 days until our invited dress rehearsal on September 10. I will have to keep feeling the gratitude, luck and hope that I see evinced all around me and keep pushing myself to imagine the woodsy calm and the joy that comes form feeling the tree and yelling, “HOME-FREE-ALL!”

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