Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The music, the rain, and the fly with the prettiest eyes

I spent this last weekend with a couple of good friends (from Inuvik!). We were at the Islands Folk Festival in Duncan, BC, and took in three days of folksy, bluesy, funky, eclectic music.

On Saturday, the day started off scorching and blue, but in the late afternoon, the clouds loomed in. While the optimistic audience sat unmoving in their lawn-chairs and blankets, the skies opened up and the steady drip-dripping grew more intense. Then, the raindrops eased as dusk fell, and our faces were lit in a surreal orange glow.

We turned our eyes and camera lenses skyward, marvelling at the rainbow that seemed to have sprouted from the treetops. And we swayed along with the masses to the beat from the main stage, the rain and the dusk and the rainbow turning us all into innocent little children once more.

As darkness covered us, the lights on the stage grew brighter, casting their own technicolor rainbow upon the performers. The sky above echoed once again, in lightning flashes against the deepening burgundy. As the audience stood and cheered and waved their arms high into the air, the torrents began. And the rain turned the dancing and the waving into electricity, into a youthful, ceaseless energy. Not only did the storm not dampen spirits, it left a magical sheen on everyone's skin. Toe-tapping became more frantic; cheers grew louder; the gyrating, buzzing bodies radiated an un-self-conscious abandonment.

On Sunday, blue skies and sunshine returned, along with the heatwave. My friend and I took cover as the last performer graced the main stage. We sat along a long wooden table in the shade, and allowed refreshingly cool beer to trickle down our throats. A fly carefully alighted on my friend's arm. With a cocked head and an intensity normally reserved for the hours after more drinks than we had had, my friend stared at the speck on her upper arm. "This fly has the prettiest eyes," she remarked. I stared at the blue-green iridescent insect eyes for only a second before the creature took off. I laughed as I realized how funny and how true it was.

This past weekend was the blue of the sky, the orange of the dusk, the wispy swirl of a rainbow, the greens and yellows and pinks of spotlights, the burgundy of the night sky, the white-gold flashes of lightning, and the silvery blue-green of one itinerant fly's eyes. It was that, and the beat of the drums, the strum of guitars, the babble of sun-kissed children, the rising of voices in song and in cheer. And in praise of a collective experience. In praise of feeling something, of our pulses beating in time, of our bodies moving in sync and out of sync, but moving, moving, our hearts growing stronger and our souls freer.

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