The field glows golden in the sunset, rolling back and back until it finally gives way to the mountains, blue fading into dim silver in the distance. The sun, perched on the western horizon, turns the edges of everything gilt, painting the trees, our set, the hair of the children running in the grass. Running–one could run forever, here. I think that in these final moments, I have breath enough for that. The mountains still call in a way that I barely know how to resist. This place is magical.
When the sun is gone the evening cools, and we put on jackets and curl ourselves around the firepit in the dark, a murmuring cozy of tired minds and sore muscles, ready to sink back into the humanity we left behind when we stepped out on the stage. I covet these hovering moments of the in-between, strung from us as a company to us as individuals. The promise of our solitary rituals–a quiet drive, warm water, the pillows and quilts I can’t wait to burrow into–stands glimmering before us, but we still draw out the last moments of our community in the dark. This is the first night it has been cold.
I drive home with my windows down anyway. I don’t want this to end, and though the cool breeze feels like autumn, it still smells like summer. I have loved the summer. I have loved what we built together. I have loved how we work together, how we make beauty together, how we laugh and complain and smile and breathe together. I have loved with all my heart the long drives in this gorgeous country I belong to, and I have loved having someone I admire across from me in the front seat to share them with. I love that I will never know if the beauty they saw is the same as the beauty I saw.
We gather one last time over drinks and food and photographs, and we are still dancing, still making music, still a community. None of us is eager to leave. I find that as the evening deepens, I must force myself to meet anyone’s eyes, afraid as I am to see a goodbye there. I am standing beside people I never expected to be on equal footing with, and they have shared such passion and wisdom and love and courage and strength with me. I don’t know how to tell them this, and I don’t know how to accept their deep kindness, and I don’t know how to pull myself away with grace. We will never be together again in the same way as this–every moment is unique, every season its own, and I want them all burned into my memory. It will take me many days to really leave this place.
I am proud of what we have done.