The festival is over. We made our numbers amid wretched economic conditions and oppressive weather. Just three days after closing the park is nearly empty and the animals are reclaiming their places all over the site. Skunks come out to play after dark, chipmunks streak across the fairways all day long, and we keep a sharp lookout for unexpected arrivals because this is when people begin to dump unwanted pets at the foot of our long driveway.
Show seasons compress like a sponge clenched tight in a fist. With closing day, the grip relaxes and the sponge begins to open. Those of us who move our lives here for the summer look up, look around. Exhausted, we prepare to move on.
I felt that sense of compression strongly this year. It squeezed my decisions and reactions into odd, jerky moments, but often I was aware of little more than just the process of change happening within me. Sometimes I noticed my struggle over Dar. It felt like an event that was happening to me, but I had no time to really be present in it. It erupted from time to time, is all. But there was a process that culminated in my realizing there was no longer a real reason to look back. Somehow, I saw that Dar had moved from hope to memory; I was already looking somewhere else when I saw that I had left him behind. Looking at someone else.