SUMMER IS… in 33 words
Summer is ‘The Mill’! Music in the air… everywhere. There are violins, guitars, flutes, harps, accordions, drums of all kinds, harmonicas, banjos, cellos, tambourines, horns, pianos, squeeze-boxes, cymbals, lots of singing and dancing!
The instructions for the Trifextra Writing Challenge this week were… “This weekend we’re asking you to describe summer in your own words. Thirty-three of them exactly, of course. Good luck!”
Each summer high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, somewhere near Yosemite, about 500 souls gather for a conclave of The Sierra Music and Arts Institute… more commonly known as Sweet’s Mill. The old timers just call it The Mill. For 60 years now, on the site of an old sawmill, a music and arts retreat takes place in the form of a giant campout. Musicians from around the world come together to share their knowledge and talents with others, and just plain perform. Artists gather to demonstrate their skills and teach others. There’s also drama taught, with two plays being produced. Do you want to learn how to belly dance, flamenco, tango or swing? Classes for that. At night on different stages, there are performances to show off new-found skills, and for old friends to get together and jam. And, lots of dancing!
I help out in the Arts Area. I don’t play a musical instrument, but I write stories and take thousands of photos. Here are two from last year. The photo of the young man playing the steel guitar got me a ‘Best of Show’ ribbon at our county fair, in its category. He was sitting at a table near the main stage practicing or maybe just playing… there’s a lot of that going on. It made a great still-life photo.
But my favorite photo of all, is this one of a woman playing the violin. For me, the story makes the photo, and I’ll tell how I came to take this one. I had gone up to the Flamenco Camp, because I had never been there. The Mill is over 200 acres, with different interest groups banding together in camps. There’s Gypsy Camp, Flamenco, Cowboy, Meditation Meadow, Old Timey, Bluegrass and on and on. There are still some I have to discover. So, one day I went up to the Flamenco Camp and watched a maestro teach a group of children the fine points to playing a flamenco guitar. Some women practiced dance to the music on a small stage they had made. As I was leaving, I heard the most beautifully haunting violin music. I went toward some tents expecting to see the violinist, but nothing. I followed the music up a hill through increasingly heavy brush, and finally in a small clearing I found a young woman playing a violin. I snuck a photo and listened to her play. She finally stopped, saw me and shyly smiled. I asked if I could take her photo, and she beamed and posed for me. They are nice photos of her facing me, but I like the first one I took best. So, that’s kind of two faces of The Mill. I’m leaving in two weeks… I can’t wait.
Here’s one I wrote for Trifecta that I liked… I had a great time last summer listening to music and enjoying the creative camaraderie in our camp… and of course got some great photo. There will be no music at the ‘Mill’ this year due to the lack of rainfall in California.
The familiar faces adorning the entrance to the Globe Theatre emerged from the fog, reminding Mr. James Teach how much in demand his services were. With his lithe frame and lyric voice he always got the part. Problem was, he was tired of playing maidens.
The Drury Lane manager had put in a good word to the playwright of a new work about a prince in Denmark. James was confident of landing the part of Laertes, he had been practicing sword-fighting for days now.
There was the familiar bald pate.
“Ah, Mr. Teach, how would you like to play Ophelia?”
My 100 Word Flash Fiction based on the photo by sculptor and writer Claire Fuller of one of her works. Thanks once again to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers. To read all the stories inspired by Claire’s piece, go here…
I have a lot of things to do today, some really Important Things. I got up early to do them. Here’s how it went…
Got up early. Made coffee. It was cold, so I decided to fire up the wood stove for the first time in five months. My wood stove was being used to display artworks during the ‘wood stove off-season’, so that meant I had to find space on my wall for my newest acquisition, an encaustic mixed media work by talented young artist Fiona Small, entitled ‘Rose Window’.
So, moving artwork ensued. I decided to move a photograph of my grandparents and mother, taken in the Redwood Forest during a camping trip… I would say in 1927… to my Family Wall.
My Family Wall is kind a family tree… a place to put a lot of family photos I treasure. A few of parents and sisters, but mostly daughters and grandkids. The only one without a person in it, is of the Golden Gate Bridge… I like the GGB… it was taken by my granddaughter Isabel, while in her ‘I want to be a photographer’ phase… it is very good and makes me think of her, and that’s why it’s on the Family Wall.
There’s 1st Lieutenant Theodore Strutz, my dad not me. My favorite photo of my mother Edna, taken in the 40’s, with a photo of my daughter, the actress, in the play ‘Talley’s Folly’, with her hair in the same style as my mom, hanging above. Another one of the actress, taken in Chicago in the 80’s, when Krista took me to Graceland Cemetery…https://tedstrutz.com/2012/05/28/the-crusader-and-the-acting-student… it’s one of my faves, because it reminds me of some fun times we shared in that great city.
Another from Chicago, is when Ashley and I attended a wedding at Harry Carey’s Restaurant… she made me very proud to have her on my arm that night… and one 10 years before, with her sitting on my lap in our jewelry store.
Of course this required a lot of shifting around of photos on the Family Wall. And that required a lot of dusting and cleaning of the frames, which in turn brought out a lot of memories. This is why I like the Family Wall… the memories. Each photo tells a story, like the cast photo of The Man Who Came To Dinner… taken around ’72. Ann, the original family actress, was in the play, and I came in at the last minute to replace an actor who had quit the day before the show opened. Ann is right of center with the pearls. I made some important friendships in that play. Let’s play ‘Where’s Waldo’… can you find me?
I didn’t plan the Family Wall, I have lots of family photos elsewhere… even on the fridge… it just happened. There’s me with one of my favorite women at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It should probably be on my Madame X Wall… yes, I have one.
So, after the moving, dusting and remembering, I decided to share my Family Wall. I haven’t taken the time to write in TedBook for some time… people have been talking. “Too many Important Things to do”, I’d say.
Well, it’s now 1:30, and the Important Things still haven’t been done today… Or have they?
The prompt is REFLECTION…
looking in the pool
behind my eyes, I try to see
why for am I here?
Well, that’s my effort. I hope it’s a Haiku… not sure really. I don’t know what one is to be honest, and reading the Wiki explanation made me more confused than ever. I had heard the term and read some. I liked them, I think. I will tell you one thing… I have not thought of ‘syllables’ for 50 years. So, I am happy I tried, and will try to learn more about Haikus.
The Haiku Bomber is responsible for my sudden poetic turn…
Do have a look at Quill Shiv’s challenge and maybe you will find your inner haijin.
The photo is by Michal Fanta…