Not much. Apparently I don’t post often on this blog when I don’t have homework that I’m procrastinating from. Seriously, blogging is the ultimate best way to procrastinate ever. But here’s an update on my summer-life, in case anyone cares. So far, it’s been an interesting mix of awesome, boring, lonely, super-busy, exciting, weird, and tiring.
Awesome: I’m at home. There are mountains. And a friendly sky. And more stars than I remembered there ever being. I have had the privilege, over the past four days, to drive all over the northern half of the state for various reasons which will be discussed in part below, and the mountains…oh dear gracious me, the mountains.
You know how when you are little, everything just looks big? Because you are so small? You’re always looking up to see things – nothing is ever eye-level. Nothing is ever within your reach. The house you grow up in is enormous in your memory, though it may not be in reality. Everything is huge. But as you grow up, that changes. You go away for a while, and when you return, everything is smaller. Suddenly the counters are the height they’re meant to be. Suddenly your old bedroom is half the size you thought it was. Suddenly your yard is smaller, the trees are shorter, there isn’t as much room…anywhere.
That doesn’t happen with mountains. You can’t ever outgrow them. I go away from home for nine months, and when I come back, though I have grown bigger on the inside, if not the outside, the mountains have grown bigger as well. The green hills that live in my memory while I’m away at school are never as big or as real or as alive as the ones I come home to. And that’s a good thing. Growing up and growing out is a lovely thing…but it’s ever so much more lovely to know that when I come home, my mountains, at least, will be the same as they ever were. My mountains, and my stars. Orion still hangs in the same spot he does every summer. I like him. Menelmacar. The things that Swordsman has seen.
Boring: Yea, I have had time to be bored. It’s difficult to get used to not having a schedule and homework every day. Especially coming off a May-Term, when I literally have something due for every class, every day. That’s a nice thing about being at school – no matter what, I always have a schedule to fall back on. It’s nice to have the permanence of a constant schedule, and the comfort of knowing that every Monday and Wednesday will be the same, and every Tuesday and Thursday will be the same, and every Friday will be the same, every week, over and again. I can’t get lost, because the week is always constant.
I love being home…but Hope is partly my home too, now. And so I anticipate my return there in August. =)
Lonely: I miss the people from Hope. I come home to my family, and they are wonderful…but there is literally no one else in the state of Vermont who I can talk to. I literally know no one here. Not my fault – there’s pretty much no one here to know ;) At least, not near where we live, and not people near my age. Our pastor’s family is all close to me and Em and Luke in age, but we don’t see them often, save on Sundays, and their kids are mostly gone in the summer anyway.
It’s weird to go from living surrounded by 3200 other people my age, to living surrounded by…a flock of sheep, a dog, and two barn cats. I get really fed up with living surrounded by so many people my age and never seeing anyone else, sometimes, when I’m at Hope…but there is something to be said for having, you know, real live friends. ;)
Super-busy: This wedding I’m photographing in two weeks (two. weeks.) has been taking up a lot of my brain-space. Mostly in the form of stress, though I am feeling loads better about it now than I was when I first got home. I met with the bride and groom this weekend, did some engagement photos with them, and talked about things. They are both really nice…and I think this will be fun, to work with them. I just hope my performance is satisfactory. I drove to their home to meet them…such a lovely drive. I was a bit too nervous on the way in to pay it too much attention, but the whole drive back, I think I annoyed whoever was following behind me by driving rather a lot under the speed limit and just staring at the mountains and the sky. And being euphoric because I lived through the photoshoot. I felt so awesome, I bought myself ice cream on the way home. Yea. With my own money. I’m such an adult.
Also, we’ve had B&B guests here for most of the past week-ish. That’s been fun. I’ve missed helping in the kitchen when we have guests. I have a strange attraction to washing dishes, and it’s even more fun when the ones I’m washing are the pretty glass ones we use for the inn. Yay.
As well as going to Waitsfield to meet with the wedding couple, I drove up to Johnson College this weekend…for reasons discussed below. Another beautiful, beautiful drive that I have missed so much.
Exciting: Sheep. Ah, sheep. How I love them. No, really. We wake up one morning and the sheep are on the wrong side of the fence. Said fence is lying in a complete tangled mess in the middle of the field. The ewes are off gallivanting in the wrong pasture, and the rams are getting very interested…which is bad, because now there is only one line of flexi-netting between them and the girls. Not exactly strong enough to stop a 250-pound ram when he’s trying to get to his ladies. We had guests in the inn, though, and Mommy was busy with serving them breakfast, and Emily and Luke were still asleep…guess who got to play border collie and round all the sheep back into the right places again?
Yea, yours truly. It was a bit of fun. Have you ever had to single-handedly get eight lambs (who have not yet learned that grain is a good thing, or how to stick with the rest of the flock when they’re being driven across a field) and…I dunno, nine or so ewes from one side of the pasture to the other? Yea, it’s quite a balancing act. Thankfully, the sheep got the memo pretty quickly. Though they were very reluctant to go back into their proper pasture, they went in the end, with only minimal stress and freaking out on my part.
Weird: Johnson State College. It’s way up north in the town of (you guessed it) Johnson. It’s also the place where my dance studio performs. In the college theater. That’s where I spent a few insane weeks every spring for my last eight years of pre-college dance, rehearsing and teching shows and running all over the theater and getting in trouble and getting others out of it. I’ve got stories. The best one involves the superstitions that are so inseparable from theaters, and a ghost. All you need to know about that: it was awesome. Anyhow. It’s the most beautiful drive to get there (sensing a theme?), and someday I want to live up there – not necessarily in Johnson, but way up north. Further north, even, than that. Where there is nothing but trees and lakes and sky and mountains so close you can reach out and touch them, and very few people. Lovely.
Anyhow, I went up to Johnson again this past weekend to see my old dance school’s performance for the first time since graduating. It’s funny, how different everything is when you’re in the audience.
I could close my eyes, and just see everything happening backstage. As the lights in the house dimmed and Helena, my teacher and the director of the Academy, came out on stage in her super-high heels and super-stylish dress to welcome the audience, I could feel exactly what the girls backstage were feeling. I could see Helena as she had been moments before walking out on stage – heels slung over one shoulder, hair messed up by the giant headset she’d have been wearing, dress skewed to one side by the weight of the headset box clipped to her belt, shouting final instructions in a stage whisper to whoever is on the other end of the line, surrounded by a crowd of her dancers, all giving each other hugs and so many good-luck rituals being performed and whispered calls of ‘merde!’
The Stowe Dance Academy is, I have no qualms saying, the best dance school in Vermont. Their performances were real – at least for the dancers. I can’t speak to what the audience saw – I was never one of them. But for the dancers, there was magic. The recitals and dance concerts at Hope don’t have that. Partly because they are just that – concerts. Not a full ballet, like Helena puts on. They aren’t as meaningful, somehow. There’s time in between pieces for the audience to check their phones and forget the magic, so it never really takes hold. Helena’s ballets weren’t like that.
I’ve missed that theater. After the show, I ventured backstage to see if I could find Helena to say hello one last time. I didn’t find her, and didn’t expect to. But I didn’t exactly look hard. I didn’t stay backstage for more than half a minute. I got the overwhelming feeling that I didn’t belong there anymore. And that was a bit sad. I know those dressing rooms, those underground tunnels and long cement hallways, like the back of my hand. I know the secrets, and the superstitions, and the stories. I know which doors can’t be opened, and which doors will lock you in. I know how many steps you have to go up to get from the dressing rooms to the balcony. I know which stair is the most slippery when you’re running to make an entrance and you’re wearing pointe shoes. I know where they keep the mirrors, and the ghosts. But it’s not my theater now, and it doesn’t need me anymore. And I don’t need it, though I may wish I did. I have moved on to bigger and better and further away.
And that’s a good thing. But still sad. Seeing all those faces I recognized, and those halls I knew, but not fitting in with them anymore. It was strange, the number of people there who still knew my name and were surprised and…happy? to see me. They never cared, while I was dancing with them. I suppose, though, that the graduate returned to her humble origins of her own accord is something worth remarking over.
Tiring: …after all of the above, I don’t think I need to explain this one to you. ;) After the month of June ends, though, most of the big things should hopefully be over and I can relax a bit over July. Emily will, Lord willing, have left for two years in Germany by the beginning of July, and my wedding thing will be over, and Luke will be off to summer camp, and it will be just me and the dog and Mommy and Daddy. Hopefully then I can put some more serious work into my editing. I haven’t been able to do much writing at all, so far. A bit unfortunate, but what can you do.
Also, my family is going to Maine for four days next week. I’m excited. I love our annual trips to Maine…there’s something about the ocean that is absolutely fascinating and spell-binding and…I don’t even know what. I understand the Elvish longing for the sea. And the area of Maine that we go to always has the best skies…the clouds are enormous and dynamic and beautiful, and there are rainbows out over the ocean…
There will be many pictures, don’t you worry. There will most likely be TOO many pictures. ;)