Tears and Laughs in the Shadow of Denali

We have arrived in the quaint little town of Talkeetna, a place where three rivers meet in a large beautiful valley.  The Alaska Range including Denali, the highest mountain in North America, sits on the horizon, timeless snowcapped peaks. Today it appeared from the clouds for the first time in two days just as the sun dipped behind in shades of pink and purple. The river rises and falls like tides, as the warm days melt the glaciers and the cool nights freeze them. Everything moves in cycles and it’s all the more noticeable in the vast wilderness. It gets almost practically dark at night now.

The people here are extremely excited to have us. They say this is the most exciting thing to happen here since 13 years ago, when Chautauqua last visited. We had a most glorious parade down Main Street today, joined by a number of locals and lots of children. All the town people were beaming. We gave a free show in the park, and they loved it. This type of thing just doesn’t happen here, but here we are, and it is happening. The people are VERY appreciative. In a town this small, our impact is all the more substantial.

 Tomorrow we will teach workshops, and do an extra long show (at their request) in the local theater.

I apologize again for lack of photos. My computer broke and the borrowing/transferring/technicalwhat?/busyness have made it quite tricky. I will keep trying, but for now there are a lot of wonderful tour photos on our Facebook page, so check ’em out. 

Before moving on, I would like to share a letter from the Calypso Community Farm. “Thank You, Chautauqua! We loved having you here at the farm! Your show was amazing, and you are all really nice people! Thanks again,
Addie, Calypso farm”

And thank you! For being such gracious hosts.

 Now for a brief reality check:

The road here has been a tough one. We may make it look easy, but it certainly is not. Many tears have fallen already. We are all working hard, and facing exhaustion. Sometimes people make mistakes (it happens), and sometimes tempers run short. Sometimes we have expectations that are not met. Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own. But through the struggles there is a certain intangible guiding force that keeps us moving forward, keeps us steering towards the light.

The power of community is a hard thing to capture in words. Yes we are greater than the sum of our parts, but it is more than that. We are a big family, and we are all here for each other, as well as for the people and communities we interact with. With each challenge, we grow stronger,  and we keep on keepin’ on. Everybody’s emotions are felt by the whole group; in a sense we all share the same tears and the same laughs. The thread that ties us together is made out of love, love for each other, for our art, and for the people and places we visit. Each hardship just tightens the thread. We are learning and growing; we do the best we can.

There is a wooden sign we carry with us, it says, “We don’t work for free for nothing.” I think that really captures the essence of this mission. There is a sense that it means more than just the shows, parades, workshops, work parties and smiling faces. That at least for now we have captured that hard to find feeling that we are being the change we wish to see in the world, and we are making a difference.

Sincerely, Blog Monkey Extraordinaire,

Eli “Dr. Bonkers” March

This entry was posted in Midnight Sun Tour, New Old Time Chautauqua. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tears and Laughs in the Shadow of Denali

  1. Randy "Rude Rudy" Carey says:

    Sounds like you are all having a positive impact everywhere you go! Keep up the good hard work. They used to tell me in my 20’s “if you want to see what people are really like, take a good long road trip with them” Hang tough and carry empathy and compassion at all times 🙂

  2. Sandy says:

    I was at last night’s show. It was highly entertaining and I laughed a whole bunch. The thought occurred to me that you should take it to Congress. If they worked together like you do, this country would be on the right track. Incidentally, I covered my eyes during the buggar pull and the sword swallowing. My 14 year old loved both of those!

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