My husband grew up in many places, one of which was basically the swamp. He knows all about swimming with alligators, or timing visits to friends’ houses so you can jump in the river and let the tide carry you conveniently to and fro, depending on which dock you needed to clamber upon, murky and wet. (This was easily one of the most romantic stories of his youth that delighted me in our early days of getting to know each other. I still enjoy telling others about this.)
I did not do any of those things. Any kind of water worth having comes with waves, I always thought. I still sometimes think this is true, but now I have been to the marsh.
This particular marsh really is The Marsh — The Marsh Studio, the aerial dance home created by Susan Murphy, founder of Canopy and mentor to many of us. When she invited Canopy’s Rep company to drive down from Athens to Darien to perform last weekend, we heeded the call accordingly (and dearly missed the company of those who couldn’t make it, of course). Fittingly, the show was called “Reunion.”
Susan and her husband, Don, live right on the marsh. As in…you can hear the baby alligators chirp to their mother in the water below your deck right-on-the-marsh. We were surrounded on all sides by water and heavy salt air, made pleasant by a constant breeze. I could open the French doors of my weekend bedroom and see nothing but lush green all around me. It was wonderful.
Oh – do you want to see a video? I bet you do. It’s really short. You can practically feel the breeze!
The studio itself is a marvel: a modernist cube stacked two-stories high, with living areas wrapping around the interior aerial space. (That’s Susan in the green shirt!)
Anyway, the show was pure joy, and I am pleased with how my piece went. Most of all, I will remember watching my friends perform, and the surge of love I felt for them in each moment. It was almost exhausting, all that love! What a family we’ve built.
I hope to share some of the show night videos sometime – I know the video of my piece is still on a camera somewhere in south Georgia. But there is one video I can share now. The next morning, after coffee but just barely, some of us gathered in Susan’s studio to revisit our pieces, share skills and break down moves and combinations, teaching and learning. Susan requested some reprisals. I tied the corners of my pajama pants so they wouldn’t flip up, taped my wrists (that last slide-down is a long one), and prayed my glasses would stay on. It’s not the perfect run—I am sure my fellow aerialists will note fussy moments here and there — but it reminds me of a near-perfect morning. If you’re so inclined, you can watch it here.