Of Farms and Fables combines the efforts of professional and non-professional artists by engaging artists in farm work and farm workers in storytelling and acting. The result will be an original performance in October of 2011 which will engage performers and audience in dialogue about local agriculture, farming, and the future of small family farms in Maine.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Days: The Arrival of Autumn (Jennie)

Flora Bliss (Hannah) on a break at the first full company read-thru.

On the Broadturn blog this week, John began with a reminder of the fall season’s propensity to induce nostalgia.  The thought has stuck with me through the week as I’ve repeatedly experienced flash memories that arrive with a strong, brisk breeze and a baking sun upon my head.  These remembrances are brief, but they fill every pore of my awareness and block out all knowledge of the present moment.  Suddenly and out of nowhere I am crossing a campus lawn, seeing the entry to my dorm building or, strangely and most often, running the length of a field for hockey practice. 

Friday was my first "truly fall" harvest day.  In the tomato hoop house, there was a beautiful cold wind to accent a shimmering sun on the grasses of the pasture.  Every time I reached up to pick a Sun Gold Tomato from above my head, I would watch the sunlight sift through my fingers and feel the coolness of a world poised on the edge of winter.  I would have thought that I would harvest faster on a day that didn’t have me sweating in a sweltering heat, but I found the opposite.  It seemed that we all moved with the pace of the day, as though we were poised, too.

This first true day of fall, the first morning that my pellet stove was instructed by its thermostat to ignite and warm the den, arrived one day before the start of our rehearsals.  I have been preparing for this chapter of our project for a very long time.  Entering the rehearsal stage constitutes a momentous shift of focus and energy for everyone involved in our project.  Standing in that hoop house on Friday, I felt this pivotal transition of our project underscored by the seasonal change all around me.  With that stunning coexistence of summer and winter in a single moment, the longing for days past merged with an exhilarating awareness of the future, our project has eased into its most productive season aided and abetted by the arrival of Autumn.

My mother documented each fall beginning of my childhood with an annual First Day of School Picture.  For her, I have recorded (at the age of 32) my departure for the First Day of Rehearsal: