summer nights

"The Mystery of a Summer Night" by Edvard Munch
“The Mystery of a Summer Night” by Edvard Munch

Whichever road I follow, I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another. Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
~ Linda Hogan
(Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World)

A friend posted part of the above quote on Facebook this morning and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I put the book it comes from on my “to-read” list. Perhaps I will have more time for reading this winter.

My ancestors have been calling to me strongly since May and most of my time since then has been spent doing online research, and planning a research trip in the fall. It’s actually one of Tim’s ancestors who is calling the loudest and most persistently – I have discovered a clue that might lead me to her parents, who I have been looking for, off and on, for thirty-seven years!

It’s a struggle for me to balance research, blogging, gardening, housework, preparing healthy meals, de-cluttering, visiting my dad, enjoying the summer… Summer days are so long and mostly hot and humid, although we have had a few wonderful days here and there to enjoy onshore breezes and open windows. I quickly grow weary of the drone from the necessary air-conditioning…

But summer evenings are the best! Going to plays (Shakespeare-in-the-Park) and concerts (Dave Matthews Band) outside, seeing sunsets and starlight and the moonrise – the stuff memories are made of…

This past Sunday evening we went to Summer Music Sundays at Mystic Seaport for the first time. We dined and had drinks under a huge maple tree outside of Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern (named for the tavern in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick), with a view of tall ships moored to the dock on the Mystic River, and smaller boats sailing by while the sun set across the river. We thoroughly enjoyed the music, guitar-playing singer Bruce Foulke, who treated us to some covers of old favorites by James Taylor, Carole King, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton… It was a lovely, perfect evening!

What do you love best about summer?

The Tempest

Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island
Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island

Twenty years ago, in July of 1991, The Colonial Theater of  Westerly, Rhode Island, began presenting its annual Shakespeare-in-the-Park with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My mother had died only a few weeks earlier, and after seeing an article in the newspaper about the free performances, Tim & I decided we should go. We loved every minute of it, cuddled under the stars in our beach chairs on the lawn of beautiful Wilcox Park. Seeing these plays became one of the highlights of our year, a dearly loved tradition.

For the 15th season, in 2005, the theater presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream again, much to our delight! And I loved these words found in the program that year:

The mix of illusion and reality that runs through the play is also a particularly relevant theme at this time. For this is at the heart of what we do each year. With your participation, we visit people and worlds where the normal, earthbound laws of physics no longer apply. … Not only is the play filled throughout with the imagery of dreams, but Puck even addresses the audience at the play’s close with the advice that if they’ve not been pleased with what they’ve seen, they should just tell themselves that they’ve been dreaming, and will wake up with nothing lost. And what’s to say that we haven’t been dreaming while this parade of characters has performed across the stretch of our imagination?
~ Harland Meltzer, Producing Artistic Director, Colonial Theater

Over the years we’ve been to almost every play, except for the few times there was no play due to lack of funding. It’s free, but the theater counts on donations to make it each year. Besides making donations ourselves, Tim buys a coffee cup each year and as you imagine, has a large collection now.

TheTempest2011
“The Tempest” ~ summer 2011 ~ Wilcox Park, Westerly, Rhode Island

This year the play chosen was The Tempest, which was put on for the second time, the first time being in 1992. After watching the weather report we decided that Wednesday was the best night to catch it. We went early in the afternoon to stake out our spot, and then returned in the evening, found a good parking spot, walked to a restaurant for dinner and then walked back to the park for the play. Even though I had my exercise ball to sit on, perhaps all the walking and sitting in the restaurant had taken its toll because I was uncomfortable almost immediately. And Tim was not feeling well due to moving around in the heat and humidity – it’s hard on his heart. Both of us sat there miserably until the intermission, wondering if the other would mind leaving early, something we had never ever done before. When intermission came we took one look at each other and knew with very little verbal communication how things stood. We quietly gathered up our things and left…

Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island
Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island

For future reference I’m listing all of Shakespeare’s plays we’ve seen by this theater group at Wilcox Park:

1991 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1992 – Tempest
1993 – As You Like It
1996 – Romeo & Juliet
1996 – Julius Caesar (performed by the visiting Anglian Open Air Shakespeare Company)
1997 – Twelfth Night
1998 – Othello
1999 – Taming of the Shrew
2000 – Henry IV, Part I
2001 – Hamlet
2003 – Merchant of Venice
2004 – Much Ado About Nothing
2005 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2006 – Romeo & Juliet
2008 – As You Like It
2009 – Two Gentlemen of Verona
2011 – Tempest (until intermission)

Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island
Wilcox Park ~ 7.27.11 ~ Westerly, Rhode Island