Bring us all together again, one gentle blur of an evening, a dance played out a hundred times over and yet born anew as it if had never been done before. Wine and craft beer flow freely, our lubricant and our vice; clumps of conversation arise in every corner, and we drift from one spot to the next, life updates and stray jokes, some holding down tables for the party to come to them or others bringing the party with them wherever they go, a small court emerging here, yard games over there, a dance floor emerges whether there is one or not, some cigars in one corner, and of course euchre in full force in another. Before long it is late, very late, and there everyone is in your hotel room, nightcaps and literary talk and deeply honest riffs and a bag of Bugles, obligated to host because your body knows not to waste one second, not one chance to descend down the rabbit hole and tease out some old history, some powerfully held opinion, some source of debate we can all drive at but then step away from again because these ties here are much too thick for it to be any other way.
Somewhere amid it all is a moment of clarity, that fleeting instant when you can at once be fully immersed in the full pageant but also able to step out and see it for all it is. A panoramic photo tries but fails to capture it because it is just life, the action instead of the place that makes this all work, each of us moving on an unseen orbit that brings us in and out of one another’s spheres, enriched a little bit by each passing turn. Escape to your room, recharge for a few minutes, flop on the bed or revisit your canon of choice for the words that give you what you need, that reminder to dive right back into all of this at its fullest, back in spite of it because how could you not. The parties grow loud and raucous but we all take that time, escape into our words or our lyrics or our woods, out from suburban comfort or vivacious city-dwelling to see every corner of what this world has to offer and return armed with stories, regale the rest when we meet again on a brewery patio or in the hotel lobby or just in that quiet corner we are apt to share with a few confidantes, each with our own way of casting off the madness before we dive back in.
In the fall of 2021 we gather in the absence of our matriarch, a generation now lost to us, the effort needed to pull together this sprawling expanse somewhat greater than it used to be, your own generation nearly all now into adult phases of our own with its myriad new responsibilities, gardens to tend to and new lives to grow that spring beyond the confines of the past, but you can’t help but think that the utmost we can gift to the members of a next generation is a chance to live a few of these nights themselves. But in the more immediate realm, well, you may go home exhausted, drained from all of that expense of energy and anxious over looming commitments beyond but you may find that in spite of it all here you are writing freely, your torpor finally broken, and the possibilities that these nights make visible spill out in one quick rush, renewed and ready for new beginnings, the faith that makes it all worth it once again.