Monday, June 19, 2006

ren faire

Held in the dry and stiff arms of Cedar City, crowned with a ruby-red plateau, as though a fallen and faux jewel beneath, the 23rd annual Utah Midsummer Renaissance Faire chimed like a broken clock in a tenuously verdant pocket of desert, offering up what is still 12th-century about rural Utah.

Her grimy craftsmen ply their wares on the Commons for three days under royal blessing, huddling in a collection of trees, ramshackle tents and smoke, with bolts of mystic cloth blown wayward amid the camps and swarms of pasty flesh milling in the heat.

Villagers, tradesmen and sojourners pore over jagged baubles and boiled meats, a crowd of daft and drunken footmen, cod-pieced jugglers, puppeteers playing reeds, harmonizing hand maidens and scary-okee minstrels, toothless serfs, blade-licking wenches, emblazoned skulls, waterplay, lying prostitutes, imprisoned crabs and eagles, enormously rotund friars and their bald henchmen, Scots tossing balls to the wind, stilted giants with groping hands, emaciated beggars, vagabonds and freakish and craven youth dressed in mourning.

From the stage, twice each day, comes a riotous marching jamboree of color. Drums call all to join the procession as the pageant Herald shrieks to dull onlookers of your arrival, as though to shake groundlings from the grinding banality of life under an oppressive master.

Tired and jaundiced eyes cannot help but draw to a seducing loveliness dancing suddenly into their midst, alive while only whispered of before as carnival in their own flesh, a vision of the beautiful and talented ladies from the East.

This chaotic circuit wound at searing midday and warm evening between the listing tents, dazzle, undulations and kisses answering to the hoots and leering stares, with fertile progress that of a wanton, wounded snake. As fore-ordained, all paused in silence beneath the thrown.

Zeal culminates as cries the Baron, himself usually mad, flushed and spiteful to greet his inbred cousins, gashed on mead and wearing a red cross, fossilized in his delusions of regal blood and born to the gallows, crying as though pulling all from his soured gut with a gnarled and trembling hand lifted to the sky, "K-ii-ii-ii-ii-ii-ii-ii-i-i-i-ssssMET!!!".

Friday, June 16, 2006


"Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, "Miracle of Mindfulness"