By Adrienne Rich
When I meet the skier she is always
walking, skis and poles shouldered, toward the mountain
free-swinging in worn boots
over the path new-sifted with fresh snow
her greying dark hair almost hidden by
a cap of many colors
her fifty-year-old, strong, impatient body
dressed for cold and speed
her eyes level with mine
And when we pass each other I look into her face
wondering what we have in common
where our minds converge
for we do not pass each other, she passes me
as I halt beside the fence tangled in snow,
she passes me as I shall never pass her
in this life
Yet I remember us together
climbing Chocorua, summer nineteen-forty-five
details of vegetation beyond the timberline
lichens, wildflowers, birds,
amazement when the trail broke out onto the granite ledge
sloped over blue lakes, green pines, giddy air
like dreams of flying
When sisters separate they haunt each other
as she, who I might once have been, haunts me
or is it I who do the haunting
halting and watching her on the path
how she appears again through lightly-blowing
crystals, how her strong knees carry her,
how unaware she is, how simple
this is for her, how without let or hindrance
she travels in her body
until the point of passing, where the skier
and the cripple must decide
to recognize each other?
We spent a glorious Sunday at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where I had my annual fifteen minute date with sparowe and bought my annual supply of Spice Creme, and ate a smoked turkey leg and a bit of macaroni on a stick, chocolate mousse, root beer float, apaulled's bread bowl with crab soup and lots and lots to drink because it was a magnificent sunny warm afternoon. We saw Shakespeare's Skum's Richard III and Henry V, Hey Nunnie Nunnie, one of the Royal Court shows, the joust and both Fight School shows, plus a lot of music, Hilby the Skinny German Juggler, a bit of The Sword in the Stone and a few minutes of Hack & Slash.
Richard of Gluestickshire, as he is called by his cronies, plots on the stage of the Globe Theatre to kill his brother, nephews, et al.
The trained professionals of Fight School always talk about Fight School!
Hey Nunnie Nunnie: "There were five (five) five (five) constipated men in the Bible, in the Bible..."
Shakespeare's Skum: "It's Henry the FIFTH! Not Henry Vee!"
"Who wants to see a man with five balls?"
And they lived happily ever after!
So I was thinking about some comparisons with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, since people often ask me which I like better...and I'd have to say it's a draw, since there are things I prefer about each of them. The turkey legs in PA, for instance, are better but also cost $3 more per leg than in MD. The crab soup in MD is much better but let's face it, if a RenFaire near Annapolis can't get crab soup right, it would be pretty silly. I like many of the shops in PA better but there are far more in MD -- today three shopkeepers were unnecessarily rude to me when I asked very simple, polite questions, which irritated me -- and MD has a lot more specifically kid-oriented entertainment, games and attractions.
I should note that the PA Faire has very clean, well-kept bathrooms while the MD Faire has the most disgusting port-a-potties I have ever been in, bar none -- I have no idea how guests in fancy dress clothes manage, except to think maybe they're the ones who do their stuff all over the floors, seats and plastic sides. Really -- anyone who has ever been in my house knows what a slob I am and these facilities are revolting...I'd go behind a tree if I didn't think I'd get arrested. The PA Faire also does a better job of emptying the trash cans throughout the day so that they aren't overflowing with trash blowing everywhere. Perhaps this is because the MD Faire is bigger -- there are more food choices and a lot more tables and benches to sit and eat.
As for the entertainment, it's a matter of taste: I prefer the Shakespeare shorts in MD, Don Juan and Miguel in PA, Fight School in MD, the juggling and acrobatics in PA. The jousts are quite different in style. In PA it's all about showmanship, and one gets the impression that everything is choreographed and predetermined, with some spectacular tricks like horses ridden through rings of fire and longbows fired the length of a football field while "powder kegs" are blown up on the arena stage, but also that no one is really stretching himself or herself in the games. In MD the joust seems much more like, well, a joust -- they take several passes and it isn't just an excuse to drag one's opponent off the horse for some WWE-style wrestling antics, and there are more demonstrations of other traditional games of skill on horseback. I like them both a lot, but I could see purists being frustrated with the PA jousts and people who are all about spectacle being less interested in the MD jousts.
Got home in time for the Brotherhood season premiere -- still so not my kind of show and I still can't stop watching because the acting is so good, not just Jason Isaacs and Annabeth Gish who are always good but everyone down to the kids and the minor mob creeps. I wish I knew that there would be a third season because I am constantly in fear that they will kill off Michael. And now I must ask: was I right to skip Shark because I couldn't resist Brotherhood's first airing? Was it good this week?