For the summer of 1998 I intelligently ran away to join the circus.
No ordinary circus I fell in love with a special one, and one that too few people over on this west coast seem to know about. Much to my delight, yesterday's NY Times has a wonderful article commemorating the Bread & Puppet Theater; article here. Holland Cotter wrote a really beautiful synopsis, and there is a short slide show there as well. I highly recommend it.
I first went to see the circus in Vermont the summer of '96, right after graduating from college. I took a few 4x5's, which I will try to post here soon. So much I could say, but to summarize I was awed by the place (Northern Vermont farm land), the performance (amazing earth-full puppets) the beauty (as these puppets were used to celebrate our world and the land), and the generosity of it all. All performances are free. Rye bread (which I later helped to grind the flour for) with garlic aioli is given away. Somewhere close to 30,000 people attended that year, and by the time I was working there the "party" atmosphere at the camp sites had gotten so large that by executive order the entire celebration was shut down.
That fall I helped as we went on tour through the Appalachian mountain range- I saw places I'd never been and worked harder than I ever had in my life.
Reading this article makes me want to go back, makes me wish everyone could see that pageant, and makes me wonder why such beautiful things become such small pieces of our collective reality. It needed to stay smaller, but at the same time I wish it could be much, much bigger.
Bread & Puppet's web site here.