Feel so bad for my husband and all the things he missed out on, even if he doesn’t. His family didn’t make May Day Baskets or pick flowers or make wreaths, decorate the front door or even clean up the yard and have a bonfire. Asked him if noticed how barns are painted in Norway, he’s seen them but didn’t know what that was about. Asked him about Vulcans and he didn’t know who they were. As kids, we were afraid of them. They dressed in red like devils with shoe polish all over their faces. Women hated them, they would run around in a pack and grab women and rub their shoe polish faces all over the women’s faces. Like drunk hockey players.
The mark started in 1940. The mark was originally imparted on ladies of the realm as a sign of their willingness to demonstrate their allegiance to the Vulcans and to forsake forever Boreas and his followers. In more recent times, the mark has been extended to male members of the population in this manner; a Krewe member will draw a “V” on the cheek or forehead of the individual.
That was part of the winter carnival, but in the spring we went to the Tree Of Life pageant. I might as well be speaking another language. Nevermind. My grandparents were farmers. My grandparent’s parents were farmers. At my house if someone dropped a fork in the kitchen that meant company was coming, it’s hard to explain. And pennies on window sills. I don’t know why. When anyone dropped a penny they set it on the window sill. Oh and we went to Bouja’s on the river. Another thing he hadn’t ever heard of. A harvest festival, French Canadian, I guess that makes it Cajun. (the Spanish deported the French Canadians, shipped them in their Spanish ships to New Orleans and then forced them up the river to defend from the British, sound about right?) We brought gallons of soup home to freeze for the winter… VS Gumbo and I suppose that would be Creole which one might think was Spanish but both are actually French. He said his family was even more hard core. They had Norweigan “Fish Bowl’s”, doesn’t sound very good. Neither does frog legs.
Anyway, on May Day there was and will be a parade through the city to Powderhorn park. There is a little lake with a little island in the center. Every year community gathers to welcome sun. Sun sits out on the island. As the parade arrives to the park, particpants sit on the hill side and then chant SUN. The regatta paddles the giant sun puppet to the hill side and everyone cheers. Then there is a huge party. Lots of music and food and it’s usually over by sunset.
If you think Isle wilde is cool, well you haven’t seen The Heart Of The Beast. In fact, that’s where IsleWilde came from. In the form of Beast artists who moved to Vashon. So there.
Jon asked me what happened to Islewilde. Long pause. Short answer, our kids grew up. Their dad was in Hoi Polloi and they performed The Animal Farm at the park, next to the library. Their dad was Snowball and it was probably too scary for them. Not just the puppets, but the sets and use of lighting and there were professional musicians on sound. They had a soundtrack.
He asked how we did it. All the community choreography, the music and performance? It starts with inspiration and there’s something about letting it all go, all the intentions, all of everything opens up as it’s given away. That’s the magic of it. What it becomes. None of us know. Islewilde 20 years ago- we held dream retreats. We would camp and sleep in a circle and dream together. In the morning we circled up and shared ideas. weaving community stories. We went home and went to work. Where we differed from the beast is having an art camp to create all the art for the parade. One person led a mask making workshop, someone else created paper lamps. Over the course of the workshops we held rehearsals and then the event. Islewilde still meets in the summer, its heart is still beating. Oh I wish I could find footage of the paper lantern processions. All the little children dancing like fireflies in a long winding spiral…