Saturday, August 30, 2008

The County Fair

I always wanted a t-shirt inscribed with my doula Lori Dorman's personal slogan: Follow Your Intuition and the Outcome is Assured. I need it branded on my forehead.

I should recap at this point: we no longer inhabit suburbia. We were called to Brooklyn two years ago (from LA, where we racked up twenty years - my how time flies), even though no one we knew really believed one could be called to Brooklyn, and we couldn't really explain the pressure that had built up behind this intuition.

Lo and behold a little Waldorf school appeared in Brooklyn where one had not been before (blink, blink), and since we knew it had to be Brooklyn, we signed on, sight-unseen. When I got there and began to know some of the deeply committed, honest, wonderful parents that were in the same boat - all seemed to be artists similarly struggling to raise their children consciously while maintaining a connection with their work - and learned that these were the Founding Mothers of the school, I began to get an inkling of the divine pattern.

So it became even more confusing when, a year later, we had to initiate another move, out of Brooklyn, to find a school all three of our children could attend, and so conserve our precious working time. First thing we found when we got to our new Waldorf "farm school," was we were not alone. About ten other families had just dropped everything and come from California, preceded by another ten families the year before. Head of Faculty was heard to say, "Did California finally fall into the ocean?"

Yeah, I miss El Coyote and a few swanky old places in Hollywood; well, I miss when Wayne and I were "single." I don't miss the beach. I don't miss the weather. I live in the most beautiful place in the world, more beautiful than the South of France (which frankly, looks like Southern California). I feel that the ground for my friendships has just enlarged many-fold.

I am reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, which seconds my hunch that a new kind of society is in the works, one based on interconnectedness. One of our dear Brooklyn families rented a house up here for August, while they continue to look for the right one to buy. One family sublet their Brooklyn co-op and rented a house up here (with a wood-burning stove and compostable toilet), moving mountains to be here by start of school. (The Dad swears he isn't going to mind commuting to New Jersey!) Another Brooklyn family whose son was a playmate of my youngest daughter (and who, the last time we saw him, told her, "I may never see you again!"), is coming to visit our school this week, in the same tour of all the schools outside the city that we did. And just last night I heard that another of our close pal families has rented an apartment nearby in a friend's house.

"We're founding our own colony!" I said to a Founding Mother of the Brooklyn Waldorf School.
"Well," she agreed, "If we can found a school, we can found a colony."

Yesterday the Firefighter's Parade lined up and marched past my house, with trucks and volunteer fire departments from all over the county, and high school marching bands, including multiple drums, arrays of tubas and a real whistling drum major. One whole marching band turned and serenaded my neighbor across the street - my kids' schoolbus driver. A man in tights rode standing on the backs of two giant horses with plumes in their hair. We had hot dogs and pink lemonade on the front porch.

Then we walked over to the County Fair. The man with the giant horses (they're called Brabants, which are the original Belgians) was there; the American Belgian that was being led to the ring with them almost went into orbit when he had to pass the Tilt-a-Whirl. I paid $20 a piece for each of my kids to ride as many rides as they could, and they paid me back by getting their money's worth. We ate hamburgers and french fries in a church tent; when it began to rain, we ran into the 4-H barn to see the Grand Champion chickens and rabbits. It's a pretty contrast, how much we have learned about things that matter since we went to our first County Fair last year. We watched the 4-H kids in the show ring punch their misbehaving yearling calves in the nose. Did you know pigs are the 4th most intelligent mammal, after (1) humans (2) chimpanzees (3) dolphins? Dogs are ninth, so anything you can teach a dog, you can teach a pig, like, five times faster.

As soon as we left the tent it stopped raining and the adventure resumed. "Media Express" (that really was a ride), Drop Zone, Pharoah's Fury, The Disco, all satisfactory manifestations of 12 year-old longing. My six year-old got to pet a baby alligator and a baby kangaroo in a furry handbag; her favorites were the racing Dachshunds with their little "hot dog bun" saddles. A friend bought a tray of fried Oreos (the shocking truth about American decadence), we polished off buckets of fresh lemonade, and the kids got to choose one treat, cotton candy or caramel apple. There was an amazing moment where a V of geese flew over the midway in the waning light. I've got a thing for cameras lately, but in the clinch, they're not fast enough for real life.

Here's what I found out: if you follow your heart, that makes a path for others to follow theirs.

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