Posts Tagged ‘summer’

You can’t help but love the small town culture. This week my choice was Carrollton TX. A town square lined with antique shops,  restaurants and anchored by a flag draped gazebo… really charming. An old style boardwalk allowed us to promenade under a shady awning to gawk and window shop while in the plaza a local auto club had brought out their best projects for the public to vote on. Yes, summer is in full swing… the temperatures are triple digits…but small town Texas is keeping us cool.

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I love a bit of anthropology on the weekend . I discovered a new tribe today while trundling through yet another ethereal art festival, which are as common as the cottonwood fluff that floats on the summer breeze at this time of  year in the entirely entertaining and mysterious city of Dallas Texas. And what a beautiful day it was to discover something new, the weather has been dialed up to perfect, as if winters cold curtain has been ripped open by an excited stagehand who couldn’t wait for spring to entertain the actors que…..suddenly summer is OK with me. The Art and Music festival in the scenic small town of Richardson was held along side a wide creek lined with green banks and shady elm , solid oak with blooming cottonwood extant…..sublime when you consider you’re in the center of Dallas surrounded by freeways that connect and disconnect  the city like a giants mechano set with soaring concrete interchanges stacked five high  twisted like spaghetti.

We have been going to art and music festivals every weekend since the season began in March….. culture starved Canadians that we are.  In that time I started to notice many familiar faces in the booths and kiosks, food carts and T-shirt and trinket counters. Naturally, being the inquisitive type I had to inquire. I found out from several of the talkative participants that the art scene in the US is like a traveling carnival, where the entertainers and artists, food vendors and roadies sign up for what amounts to a roadshow tour and they travel to  various city and town fairs around the country…. I remember doing this a long time ago when I lived with a traveling carnival in my wayward teenage years and  went from town to town like a breath of homeless air. We appeared and disappeared in smoky trucks and pulled up our torn faded tents at odd hours, set up shaky rides and rigged gaming stands on grassy fairways, vacant lots and disused corners of mall parking lots to the delight of children and the horror of their parents.

What I found out today is that artists from all over the three countries, Canada, USA and Mexico are like the itinerant gypsies I knew as a child and enjoy a similar secret and insular lifestyle society. They know one another intimately, they take care of one another if one gets sick or is otherwise in need….becoming like an extended family to one another…. a tribe by any other name. The stories I heard today were about people who are  travelers and gypsies living in mobile homes and RV’s a majority of the year. These carvers, glass blowers, painters, sculptors, musicians, weavers, entertainers and photographers are a world apart from everyday life and exist unrecognized for who they are. They live in our hearts and minds by what they produce and yet we know so little about them. Who knew the life of an artist could be so tenuous and exciting? You do now.

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Not much has happened since 1964. The world may have changed, but I have stayed much the same. I’m just a bit older, but not much worse off for the rambunctious wear and tear of 40 years ‘on the road’. 1964 was the year of my emancipation, the time I grabbed the brass ring of freedom and ran screaming for the hills, proverbially speaking.

If I was to do the same thing today I would be running ahead of labels that would have seemed entirely alien to me in the context of what the world looked like in the fall of 1964. At that time, personal freedom and independence was something to be gained and cherished, a higher calling and a bid to live a lifestyle of wicked delirium, to join in on the beggars banquet that defined the Age of Aquarius. Today’s world would have disowned someone like me as an incorrigible homeless tramp.

In 1964 I was one of a vanguard of people who like the Chrysalis yearned to break free and seek the sunshine of a new age. The concept of being homeless had not been invented yet. There hadn’t been any hobo’s in the streets since the 1930’s passed decades earlier. There was a profound differance between the poverty of the 1930’s and the wanton rejection of wealth and materialism in the 1960’s. Poverty in the 1960’s…was cool.

A new tribe had formed out of a disaffected generation, traveling from one crash pad to another commune became a calling. New destinations were as interconnected as the strings of a dream-catcher. The people who had answered the call of the road became like princes and princesses of old, wandering easily from one pleasure palace to another, bearing gifts, news and stories of what lie ahead.

As I lay here on a bed of blossoming clover amidst the honey bee’s and bumble flies I am swept back to those simple times when wealth and materialism meant nothing to me. I have reverted to living day to day, as I would have all those years ago, and it appeals to me that I am much the same person as was, remaining true to my core values, unchanged, unfettered and free to wander the world.