I just returned from a few days in beautiful Pembrokeshire. Normally we go every year as a company, to work together, to create work, to be together, in a small secluded area where we are far outnumbered by trees, wild birds and blackberries. This year it was only two of us. No residency...no performers...but unable to hide from a need to even the visit the memory of where we convene together, in sanctuary, in love- in art.
The buildings looked different, as even in this small stone holding the world has shifted. There were no actors rolling out from the rehearsal room. I did not feel my skin covered in sweat, and lost in a world created from part imagination, part reality, part acceptance of the two worlds as one. Instead this visit was calm, almost like family. And although the shape is different, the pilgrimage is the same.
I was able to retrace my steps. Breathe in Celtic soil and take small walks with strangers. I curled up and expanded as I felt another year move through my body. I ate, I slept, I realised hard truths, and welcomed in soft beginnings. I missed the bodies that held me, but held them just the same. I picked wild food, and longed to let my skin root into ground and join the endless leaves and grass and pollen into the bushes up to the sky and forever, but managed to hold myself up enough to not....to wait. to breathe. I felt my life go on holiday for a moment, and the truth of who I am lead. What was wonderful this year, is as time goes by...that feels less and less far away...less of a mask to drop. Or a costume to hold- and it is the perfect time of year to shed unnecessary shadows.
This year there were just two bodies that went, and participated with the place they love and loves them back. With them they carried the memories of everyone they had met, and loved, and shared a moment of a perfect life with. The swallows still sang in the barn. The lilacs still growing by the door, the blackberries still sour. Unchanging in the end of summer sun.
I did not feel grief this time when I left. Instead I realised the grief comes when we feel the loss of the ones we love. Instead I took them all with me. I wrote them in poetry and heard them sing songs from the past. I swapped my grief for acceptance. And in a moment- we were together again.
There is always togetherness again.