"Breathe deep the gathering gloom.Of all the times of the year, this is the time of year that is hardest for me to handle. The changing from Daylight Savings to Standard time brings the darkness by 5:30 PM, and from now until mid-February the days seem grey, cold and cheerless. Several things happen at once:
Watch lights fade from every room"
-Graeme Edge, The Moody Blues
- A mentioned, standard time returns. It seems now I feel that change to more darkness physically as well as psychologically; energy levels weaken, and it's hard to resist the urge to hunker down.
- Baseball season ends. The World Series is completed (congratulations White Sox!) and the sports scene holds only the glum violence of football, the stupid violence of hockey, and the non-contact violence of basketball. The world of sports descends into a spiral of violent play, and the pastoral beauty of baseball disappears until mid-February, when pitchers and catchers report.
- The brilliance and splendor of autumn's colors give way to the grey barrenness of naked trees.
- Cold, wind and snow are lurking on the horizon, ready to strike.
- The holiday shopping season and all that madness is not far behind.
The ride from Canton to Lee was almost surreal in a sense. The other 7 people in the van with me hardly seemed as if they were there; just a collection of more shadows in the dark. We took a route which took us through the Adirondacks, but since it got dark by 5:30 there was nothing to see. My body felt tired like it was 11:30 PM, and when I looked out the window into the gloom outside, it looked like it was 11:30, but my watch said 6:30 PM. I tuned into my XM satellite radio (this thing is a little marvel, by the way, and makes van rides so much more pleasant) and listened to a program of "new music" called "Hearts of Space," which played a collection of music especially for Halloween called "The Gathering Gloom." That music and the show brought everything about this time of the year together, and I sat there quite zoned out in the back of the van, just letting the music soothe me. I think after listening and breathing through that music I must learn to make better acquaintance with the shades and essences of the night. There is some poetic irony in all this, because having been in theatre all my life - a business which is a night business and which takes place mostly in darkened spaces - you would think I'd be used to the dark. Perhaps all this "doing it with the lights on" business has begun to subliminally change my perspective.
We got to Lee MA last night about 11:00 or so and spent the night in a somewhat low-brow motel. This morning I got up to a beautiful morning, and walked down the road to Lee for my exercise. I crossed the Housatonic River and got some good coffee and a bagel with low-fat veggie cream cheese, and walked back to the motel. Then we packed up again for the short ride to Framingham MA, and the Best Western is a decided upgrade. We had the rest of the day off.
Now it just so happens that my oldest daughter Jenna lives in the next town over, Natick (hence the dateline), and so right now I'm in her apartment writing this post. She came to get me shortly after I got in, and we spent the rest of the afternoon (temperature 70 degrees) walking through downtown Natick (which is very nice), going to dinner at an Indian restaurant, and chatting over tea in her apartment. She and her boyfriend Gabe are coming to the show tomorrow night, so I'm looking forward to that. She also took me shopping, and I bought a lot of stuff: a pair of gloves (lost mine in Canton), a new hat (mine got stolen in Canton), a micro-light for my keychain, a smaller Nalgene bottle, and a new pair of Ecco all-purpose shoes, which was a big splurge, but I could not resist as my current pair were beginning to wear out and I was feeling pain in the ball of my right foot as I walked. These are cross-trainer style with a Gore-Tex exterior, so they should last awhile and be far more comfortable. If you've never worn Ecco shoes, google them on the web and check them out - they are great! Most comfortable shoes I've ever owned.
The week in Canton, after a rocky start, ended up OK. My host family, Bruce and Karen Weimer, were great people. Bruce is a St. Lawrence English professor specializing in 18th and 19th century American Literature, with a special emphasis on Poe. Karen teaches at Potsdam and has spent the past 21 years studying the Amish in New York State. We had a nice conversation about the Amish the morning I left. Perhaps most disappointing were the size of the crowds. The vets in the troupe seemed surprised at the small turnouts (although the second Much Ado was SRO), especially at the midnight show. Most of our troubles could be directly attributed to our contact, who really turned out to be IMHO a flake. From talking with Karen I came to find out that the usual contact, a man named Tom, was not available this year, so Lyle got the job. Even the house stay people were put off, as many of them heard very little until the Sunday we showed up. But once we got better settled and the weather improved the rest of the stay was good. It is nice to be able to stay in a venue for a few days, and we stayed in Canton a week. We've been in Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York since I got back, with very few signs of "mall America" in evidence in any of those locales, so when we got to Framingham this afternoon it was something of a culture shock all of a sudden to be dumped into the heart of "mall America." And our next few days are hectic, making up for the four days in New London and the week in Canton. From Framingham to Cape Cod to West Hartford CT to Augusta ME by the time the week is out. Whew!
Perhaps that's a sign to cash it in for tonight and get some sleep in preparation for tomorrow. And commune with the midnight spirits. -TWL