It is one of those glorious mornings where you wake up, and there is a breeze, and the sun is shining, and it feels cool and perfect, even though you know it will be blazing hot by 2 pm. I call these faire mornings, because working at the Renaissance Festival means getting up early and setting everything up and the mornings are just like these- warm but temperate, the breeze playing across your skin, the sun shining brightly from a clear blue sky and the grass wet beneath your feet. Even before I started working there, over a decade ago now, I called them faire mornings- because I’ve spent my whole life anticipating that summer day when finally the faire opens and my “real life” can begin.
Since faire became my full time job, five years ago last week, these mornings have such an import to me it’s hard to even put into words. I sip my tea and wander around the yard a bit in the morning, letting the dog do his thing, and then I come back to my sewing room to try and bang out as much sewing as I can in a day. Faire is coming. People keep reminding me- everyone I see who knows me even marginally reminds me that it’s only two months away- but it’s the weather that gets my blood singing and pushes me to spend as much time in front of the sewing machine as I possibly can. Faire is coming!
And why does it mean so much? I’ve had a hell of a time the past few years, trying to explain this. Why is faire so central that I will give up seemingly anything (including some lucrative jobs) to make sure I will be there come August? It’s hard to put a finger on it.
This post was in my facebook memories this morning: Is Anybody Watching and that hints at it, a bit. Every day that I get to sew, all day, and have my wander around the yard, and hang out with the dog, is a day that I feel like I’m stealing something and getting away with it. This is for real? This is my life? And then there’s this, which really breaks it down: Why I’ll Never Get Another Job.
But what does it all mean, when a faire morning rolls around and I feel drunk on the ripple of the curtains in the window, and the bowl of gooseberries I picked yesterday sitting on the counter, and the glimpse of the garden out the window, rows neat and tidy (for once) and the house full of harvest (carrots and peas and greens) and the prospect of an entire day spent sewing, followed by making up a glorious dinner of hand picked, hand grown vegetables? Ah yes. It’s not just the faire. It’s having a life that’s entirely my own.
Even when I was young, in school, the Renaissance Festival was freedom. Freedom to be weird, to be nerdy, to dress up the way I dreamed of dressing and be surrounded by artists and people doing exactly what they wanted with their lives. I’m sure I didn’t realize this when I was very young- I was much more enthralled by glitter and unicorns and fairy wands- but I know when I was in high school I was obsessed. A life to call your own. A life where you could be yourself. I could only imagine.
And now I have it. It’s not without it’s ups and downs- I can’t even start to tell you the stress of trying to make sure you have enough money in your bank account to put gas in your car to go just far enough to get to your third (fourth?) part time job that you’re taking just to make ends meet this month. It sucks sometimes. It’s a struggle. But days like this- how do I explain? Have you ever had this high, this knowledge that your day is entirely your own? Of course you have to work, there are bills to pay, there are people counting on you- but you decide when you start, you decide when you finish, you decide when it’s time to walk downstairs and make some tea and have a little stroll through the garden to see if the tomatoes might be ripe yet. It is your day. I don’t think we realize what that means to a body, in this crazed rush around culture we’ve collectively developed. What does it feel like, to control your day- and not just a Sunday where you happen to not have scheduled anything, but a Tuesday, a Monday even, a work day- that is entirely yours.
I feel like I’m rambling and not making the slightest bit of sense, with this ode to self-employment. My ode to beautiful summer mornings full of promise. It’s also an ode to gardening, to growing your food, to knowing that you may not have a lot of cash but you have food (so many carrots), to knowing that the house may always be teetering on the side of disaster (maybe we should vacuum?) but that no one really cares. There are cups of tea to be drunk and books to be listened to while clothes are made. No one is judging right now. Bills will be paid on time this month. The dog is happy sitting on the porch while the breeze ruffles his ears. I don’t think there’s much more I can ask for.
“Faire” mornings I call them, knowing full well there’s a bit of a pun. Fair mornings, really. Magical mornings. Everything I dreamed of, growing up. A life that is truly my own.
And now it’s time to get to work. The sewing machine is calling, and sun is slanting through the windows. It’s time to begin.