A Million Pieces All In One is performance in development, created at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts. This piece is the first manifestation of work created from my research on folk art environment builders. Photos by Samuel James Stewart, 2013.
We presented an open rehearsal for the Double Edge ensemble tonight, sharing our four songs for Saturday night’s Georgian concert here at the Farm. It good preparation for singing in front of an audience, since all our previous rehearsals have happened around dining room tables. After applause and thanks, Matthew suggested that on the occasion of the pigs’ last night on the Farm, we all go down to their pen and give a blessing to them with a small, informal ceremony. Everyone eagerly agreed.
So off we went, with flashlights and buckets of compost, to the pigpen. The three pigs ran out of their hut to greet us, snorting and happy and hungry. Matthew spoke. “Thank you pigs – you’ve performed with us, you’ve weeded our garden, and you’ve eaten our compost. You’ve seen us and we’ve seen you. We bless you and wish you luck on the next stage of your life’s journey.”
Brian asked, “Should we sing a song?”
Yes, a song from The Odyssey, from a scene near the pigpen, that the pigs heard over and over, all summer long. Another Georgian song.
Everyone began to sing. The whole company, singing all around these pigs. Matthew and Joanna had just thrown in buckets of compost, and the pigs squealed and munched and jumped around in the mud as the air was filled with song.
We stood in the blue light, surrounded by music and warmth and love. Love for the pigs who gave and will continue to give so much to us. Love for this place, that creates a space where animals and art can thrive and influence each other. Maybe the pigs can’t recognize it as art, but I believe they feel it. The passion and the messy, crazy, creative humanity that fills this place. All that is vividly expressed in small moments like this.
I have so much love for the unparalleled closeness and respect we have with each other, with the land, with nature and creation, in all senses of the word. I have respect for death. And an appreciation for the new life that comes from it.
This evening, on 551 Main Street, I pulled a tub of garden romaine out of the fridge. Andrew sauntered in, restless.
“Wanna go jump in the lake?”
Sunset at the end of a good long day. An offer that was hard to refuse. The lettuce went back to the fridge.
The two of us, plus Evan, drove down to the Lake, ran off the diving board and plunged into the warm water. The sun was setting behind the hills, a fisherman was reeling in his line, the crickets were starting up again.
Hello Ashfield, it feels so good to be back here. If I get to swim in the Lake at least five more times before the chill sets in, I will feel like the luckiest.
The interns arrive on Friday. At the present moment, there are nine of us in the house, and that is perfectly cozy. A good number for sharing meals created from our garden harvests, and more practically, for always getting in the bathroom when its needed.
But hey, 15 is a party. And it sure feels good to be surrounded by genuine, creative souls.