`penny’s parade journal, April 14, 2013:
One week to go—the countdown begins—the BIG puppets are in the repair shop and have been stripped of their costumes for major freshening up, and painting—the work tables are laden with a plethora of projects in the works—and it makes no sense, but is totally necessary for me to continue to add to the very-long, and likely incomplete to-do list.
First, I will wake up and write.
It’s an incredible morning in Traverse City, Michigan and as I sit sipping a good cup of coffee and collect my thoughts, easing myself into another day puppet and parade building I look out my bird-house window and watch the sun rise over Grand Traverse Bay.
Holy Moly! What a tremendous place to live on Earth!
This time of year I have a smidgen—bits’ and pieces of a view of this incredible body of fresh water, and the fine company of two BIG maple trees that are home to a plethora of feathered friends and squirrels. Right now, they are singing up a storm….their morning songs, along with the big sky lighting up with seagulls crying out loud and long as they fly over…followed by and accompanied with a chorus of chips, tweets, bahhh-rings, coo-coo-coos….in the trees.
The morning time is my favorite in this spot at my writing/drawing/coffee table in the company of those voices and before the car traffic begins along the bay. Especially now, and even with the four inches of April snow that descended upon us this week, this waking up time is such a wondrous, yearly happening. And, is even more so because of my ritual of spring work with the Earth Day Parade…which actually began when there was more like a foot of snow still piled up on the garden and along the streets.
One of the parade artists working with me asked “after 13 years of doing this do you ever feel like you’re over it? or ready to call it quits?” First I laugh, because it is true. Like any job, and especially one that is not necessarily embraced as “real work” I do get tired. Planning, organizing and participating in community art and parade building IS work—in every sense of the word. And, every year there are different experiences, new challenges, and likely a new crew of folks working alongside of me, and of course who knows what the weather will be like on parade day in Northern Michigan!
But I never get over it. What always seems to happen, once the answer to that question surfaces—the embodied realization I have—is that doing this kind of community art and street theater work to celebrate our home-planet-Earth–is truly a BIGGER deal than any national or cultural holiday that I’ve ever taken time to observe and celebrate—let alone participate in!
Each of these 13 years, when I really look at the who/what/where and how of my experience doing this kind of “serious, ridiculous work” I’m gifted with the bits and pieces that strung together equal an experience that is abundantly rich. Our spring work of parade building and community gathering, has become a fantastic process of working alongside of nature, of what’s happening in relationship with the other-than human world–this gorgeous place I call “home”. AND I’m creating this annual spring, community-wide tradition with dozens and dozens of others. This is a community—of family, friends, young, old and in-between. Some have entered the Earth Day parade building process as students or through a special residency program that Little Artshram has sponsored, some have moved away, grown-up, and re-entered from year to year.
Every parade-year is different—and like this changeable, transforming reminder that nature brings to Northern Michigan—part of what keeps us hopping and looking ahead is the letting go and fun of the wondering O’k what’s next????
So back to that list-bizness: TODAY: Find bamboo garden poles, get the BIG puppet costumes washed, Begin the papier maiche and painting repair work on those dear old puppets (Some are 13 years old!), Build more Dandelion and Robin headgear and work on the Gigantic Blooming Blossom….
That should keep me busy as the countdown continues!
We take ‘stuff’ and turn it into community art and street theater!
Earth Day Parade building workshop TODAY, April 14th Blackbird Arts, 1-4 pm..
It’s a lovely Sunday for folks to gather, listen to the storyboard of our 2012 parade theme, and then learn a bit about how Little Artshram and friends continues to invite and offer a spring gift of community art to Traverse City.
This year Blackbird Arts has joined our growing list of family and friends, and a special visiting artist, George Meyer, with many parade-building and puppet adventures is working side by side, parade artists of all ages building masks, costumes and non-motorized floats for our April 20th parade!
The “story” of “Seeds! Awesome Vessels of Power” is told in five chapters or sections of a parade….and it began with an idea—or a fact really that: seeds are awesome vessels of power.
Join us in our puppet and parade building adventures and we hope to see you on parade day! Here’s parade day info: https://www.facebook.com/events/553910461319699/