Date-Night Duke and Snow-Day Spinach

Opening weekend of Danstage – the annual staff-choreographed contemporary dance performance — took place at the University this past weekend, and since Monica was a featured performer, a bunch of Sand Risers got tickets and planned a little date night. Fanni and I invited the crew over for a pre-Danstage meal and gaming session, and spent most of the day rotating in and out of the kitchen assembling snacks: Guacamole and Oyster Mushroom Bites; Split Pea Soup; Deviled Eggs; Black Pepper Parmesan Popcorn; Fanni Brownies. Kelly arrived first, followed by Logan and Corrina, and we settled in and fired up a game of Coup, instantly transforming ourselves into multinational giants battling for dominion over the post-post consumerist world.


We were about halfway through our first round of deception, theft and assassination when Oren and Polly arrived, and within 15 minutes, Oren was calling all of the shots in a game he’d never even played before. “He shouldn’t have to give up the Ambassador before his play just because she challenged!” Once a Grandmaster, always a Grandmaster, I guess. Corrina systematically and savagely destroyed each of her rivals in turn, and, behind twinkling eyes and a face of innocence, sealed Logan’s fate with the indomitable Coup. False ineptitude aside, Corrina proved herself a true force to be reckoned with; the absolute embodiment of The Duke. Oren, on the other hand, met his fate early in Round 2- falling victim to a merciless Corrina Assassination, and making an early exit from the game he knew so well.

We played, ate, laughed, and ate, before eventually turning out into blizzard for the walk to the Jenkins Theater. The first dance was a bit of a disappointment, but shortly into the second piece, Monica made her entrance, running fluidly across the stage to the most haunting and dissonant harmony of voices I’ve ever heard. MAAAARRRIIIIII AAAAAA!      MAAAAARRRRIIIIIIIIIAAAA! I got nervous in spite of myself. Oh God, I can’t believe she’s doing this; she’s going to fall…! And fall she did, about halfway through the song — center stage, straight-backed and poker-faced, plummeting fearlessly forward from the shoulders of a tall man into the embrace of the two dancers below; springing lithely back to her feet and fluidly rebounding motion. For this piece and the next, Monica embodied her passion, and displayed for all the sum of countless hours of preparation and dedication. The whole performance was a wonder to behold, and I left that night enlivened by the quality of art which blesses our community in Stevens Point.

The following day found Kelly, Fanni and me seeding spinach in the eerily overcast greenhouse, silently surrounded on all sides by the compounding blanket of snow. We found a cathartic and repetitive rhythm as we worked; our mouths performing most of the movement as our hands subtly tapped seeds into the cells. Our discussion traveled to the pace of life and our inability to relax, driven by the perceived value of accomplishment to the point of near soul sickness. In the moment, however, we were at ease as we talked and tapped. Our peaceful rhythm was interrupted once more by Oren’s blustering entrance from the white outside, and we spent a half an hour battling snow on the greenhouse roof before heading home to chill for the evening.


Thus ended the weekend, and I sat in the silent kitchen Monday morning, wafting in the steam from my oatmeal, trying to beat back the pervasive fear and anxiety preceding the workweek. I thought about the conversation with Kelly, and the soul rejuvenation I’d gleaned from the wonderful company of the Sand Risers and the consumption of beautiful art. I was taken suddenly by the stillness of the space: the single drop of water lingering on the end of the faucet, waiting patiently to make its descent to the expectant bowl below; the olive oil bottle, having traversed countless transformations and thousands of miles, simply sitting on the countertop in peace, awaiting patiently the moment of employment; the kombucha jar- alive but unmoving, making no haste in fermenting, feeding, and transforming itself into wonderful nourishment for my wife and me. In the moment, I was overtaken by the realization that the world waits and waits, taking on a much slower and simpler rhythm than we allow ourselves as we haste and haste, taking nary a second to sit silently, reflect, and ponder. I pulled myself reluctantly from the stillness, glancing down to check my email. The first one was from Polly, the evening before: Hoop House Down.

One of the hoophouses seems to have collapsed under the burden of the snow. Oren and I will be driving out in the truck. If you can help, call now and we will give ya a ride.

Fuck. Guess we gotta keep moving.