Calling all Theater companies and performers!

Open Call to Theater companies, performers, researchers:
I would like to hear other voices besides my own on this blog. If you'd like to write about your TLP experiences here, e-mail them to me and I'll put them up.
Topics can include dramaturgy to staging to personal responses to the play. Anything goes!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Home Again

Well, it's back again to Appalachia after about three weeks reveling in the grass and hills of my real home.  I flew back into town yesterday from Casper, and I'm now trying to get ready for the rest of the summer at a photon's speed-- teaching, studying for exams, copy editing, writing-- and it's so hard when all I see when my mind wanders is the sky on fire, and the way the clouds broke over Pilot Peak after the thunderstorm.... I'll have a lot to write about the whole trip-- about Montana as well-- which I'll do as I have time.   That time I spent alone in the smells and sights I love was extremely revealing to me.  I learned a lot about my family.   And I learned a lot about Laramie.  But mostly, as I stood alone in the wilderness and remembered what the fleshy heads of wheatgrass smell like in the chilly evening breeze, I learned a few new things about myself. 

Yesterday was, admittedly, a sad day for me when my red-eye flight left from Casper to DIA just as the sun was coming up. 
As my little jet plane skated over the tops of the clouds at a low cruising elevation,  I stared despondently out the window at the terrain beneath the wing: Pathfinder and Alcova reservoirs shining, like gold leaf, in the early dawn light, clouds lapping around the mountain peaks like the tide around islands, a lonely Interstate 80 stretching south in a double-thread towards Colorado.  I saw the prairie lakes, which had been dry since I was a teenager, bight as diamonds, scattered over the fields.  And then suddenly I saw it: a town divided in half by rail lines, a cruciform intersection of two wide roads, the Interstate skirting to the south and east.  War Memorial Stadium was unmistakable even at that elevation-- we were flying directly over Laramie, my last view of Wyoming for a long time to come.

And, as I snapped this picture of my final glimpse of home, I realized that I could see so many locations that continue to define me.  I could see what was left of the field where I found my faith, watching the stars with my best friend; it has mostly turned into subdivisions now, and the houses are so close that stargazing would be nearly impossible anymore.
I could also see the college where I grew too quickly into an adult.  I could see the Interstate winding to the little knot that tied in to Happy Jack Road, the place where I fell in love with my husband under a summer's sky on Pilot Hill.  And I could also see the exact spot where Matt was murdered at the place where two unmarked dirt roads nearly meet, like creases in a crumpled map.  All of them were tied together by the same relentless stretch of land-- not just in the land, but in my mind, too, and I couldn't pick one place over the other.  From the air, they're all part of the same long stretch topography marked in shades of green, brown and red. 

That moment made me realize once more how much my search to understand Laramie, and The Laramie Project, is really an attempt to understand myself, those darkened places in my landscape which I want to forget but to which I have to be reconciled.  I can never be a passive observer of this landscape because those valleys and clefts carved out by that tragedy are a part of me, too.

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