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Otter Summer 8.02-Drama

Like the universe, an Otter Summer begins not with a whimper but with a bang; filled with drama. The otherwise simple dilemma of choosing what to bring and what to leave feels impossibly complicated in the absence of any certain knowledge of what’s going to happen and who you’re going to be. This either/or dilemma resolves into a both/and decision. The Otter always brings more than she’ll use.

I believe this to be evidence of good judgement. Never one myself for the packing light ethic, I have a bag the size and approximate weight of a freshly killed deer, and I amend that with a knapsack and a separate bag for the books I can’t imagine leaving home without. Should we somehow find ourselves stranded on a desert island between here and there, I will be the one everyone’s borrowing fresh underwear and books from.

”Should I bring my guitar, too?” Yea, you’d better.

I think of this, what some would call overpacking, evidence of an emerging mindful prescience. No actor would imagine traveling without her full wardrobe, and neither should our soon-to-be drama queen. She lives in a world I can scarcely remember, one consumed with trying out and trying on. When she was much smaller, she could easily lose any day playing dress up or make up or creating endless drawings of fantastic gowns. Her world has always been filled with possibilities, and the onset of her later adolescence hasn’t seemed to diminished any of them.

A friend of mine refers to this enthusiasm as ‘an anchor into the future.’ I reflect how easily I’ve become anchored to my past as my successes no more or less than my failures weighed down my presence and counterbalanced my attraction to the future. Life can sometimes feel like it’s dragging a sea anchor. The youth, as my childhood church group was labeled, can counterbalance this encumbering counterbalance of maturity and experience, and their drama seems to be their most powerful tool.

Earlier it was the impromptu stage play, performed on the window seat. Later, it was puppy love heartbreak. Even later, playing with the hell fires only immortals ever survive, rarely unscathed. Each must, it seems, dabble in dereliction to discover any workable salvation, working a succession of high wires with only an inadequate safety net of worrying family and friends beneath. Most, surprisingly, survive. Some survive with enthusiasm bruised but otherwise intact, still capable of anchoring their family’s future by imagining their own.

Whether this summer’s summer stock will become comedy or tragedy, musical or monologue remains to be discovered, though it will doubtless include each and every one of these. She will take center stage in our lives for a scant month, inspiring our future selves while enriching our present ones.

Some dismiss this dance as drama and go on about their routine business, exhorting their only hope to calm down and grow up. These scolds would be wise to listen to their own injunction, for growing up has little to do with calming down. If we smother this future in its infancy, what hope could anyone’s future have?

Curtain’s going up! Break a freaking leg!

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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