Ullr’s birthday gift. Snow dumping down all morning. We’ve switched to sleighs. Everyone is happy soft piles of snow has covered the ice. It’ll be easier to run in the dark. Luka is lit up. Finally a proper winter show.
The old Gatehouse stove in the metal yard. The winter I stayed there I had many chimney fires with this ol’ harrowsmith. Tonight after the 8pm show we’ll have vegan cake and, if I have the stamina, watch my all time favorite movie; Roman Polanski’s Fearless Vampire Killers. If I have my way there will be no chorus of Happy Birthday. That song makes my skin crawl. Most of my friends know this, hopefully they pass the word around. Last year the teamsters all sang it from their sleighs, at least I wasn’t put completely on the spot. Another year they opened wide with “Haaaa” as I entered the cook shack and I walked right back out again. It would be nice to just go snowboarding and hide out on my birthday but I have to work so also have to deal with people who don’t get why an introvert wouldn’t want a room full of people staring at her singing out of key.
When the sun set and we couldn’t rehearse outside in the dark; we’d finish each day working on music in the show. Cozy and warm in the rehearsal hall, it would always bring the cast’s energy back up. Cheri, Reneltta and Renae often kept playing pow pow songs after the day wrapped up. Each accomplished singers, weaving harmonies over the steady buffalo drum beat.
One night they were laughing about all the traditional songs that have become so popular in non-native neo-spiritual groups. Reneltta slapped her thighs and gleefully asked to sing the Warrior Woman song. Greg’s attention moved to his phone. Jay started scribbling in his script. Alex resumed stretching in the corner. Renae looked over at Rachel, Quelemia and myself and said “This is a call and response song.” I felt my body involuntarily clench, breathing restrict. Every introverted fiber of my being fled to the surface screaming retreat retreat!!
Renae started beating the drum and let out the most bone chilling vocable. Cheri followed in. Reneltta, from the floor, threw her arms open wide, sending her voice upward. Quelemia leapt in with her sweet, sparrow tones. All four singing like their spirits were flying out of every diamond shaped window in the timber framed hall. They all turned to Rachel and she kept that orb dancing in the air.
I wasn’t breathing I was trapped frozen wishing I could disappear if I close my eyes they can’t see me the room started going dark like just before passing out from lack of oxygen going to my brain all the voices directed at me all the love shining eyes smiles mouths wide with the wildest sounds I’ve ever heard in my entire life I croaked “I can’t… I’m so sorry… I can’t” they encouraged me saying “Who cares come on, come on!” the drum still beating I was deflated scared Rachel kindly rubbed my back and said “It’s okay” motioning to carry on without me she earnestly said “She’s powerful in her own quiet way” They did a final round as I focused on getting my breath back. I apologized that I got overwhelmed. Cheri laughed “There’s still a month. We’ll get it out of you.”
Women’s Warrior Song – St’ at’ limc
Hey hey hey ah he oh oh
Aw he oh oh
Hey hey ah he oh
Aw he oh oh
Hey hey ah he oh
My buddy, Tom, sets up in the tack shed and takes the head shots over dinner break right before the tech run w/ horse sleighs. Cody and I were ripping around in the dark getting set up for the run. I dashed into the tack shed – hi T! – hug – click – click – okay see ya!- back out into the night.
Kate asked how I’ve been sleeping cause I look really tired. ‘Yeah, haven’t actually slept much since we started rehearsals.’ She replied dryly ‘Why? It’s not like you have a lot to worry about…’ We laughed hysterically for a good minute.
It’s a big show; epic, funny, beautiful; worth every ounce show. I took two harsh bails. The first time just as, Reneltta, running beside me, from scene one to scene two, said ‘We are going to be in the best shape ever by the end of this!’ My foot snagged a frozen lump of binder twine and I skidded on my right leg over dirt and ice, tearing my leggings; leg warmer soaking up blood. The next night I was running to the first aid kit for Dakota and hit a chunk of solid sawdust, landing on the same knee. As I limped around Jenn -affectionately- pointed ‘Look! Here comes Gimpy, the Christmas Elf”
I’ve done my head shot with Luka the last few years. It was weird not having her with me but she’s been at home doing a lot of this: