Fulfilling a dream on my bucket list

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BUCKET LISTS … The concept of a bucket list has intrigued folks like myself for years. There are certain things one wants to do in one’s life, but that seem perhaps unattainable. So you file them away in a bucket of what might be done and await opportunity … I’ve always wanted to go to Ashland, Ore., to see the Shakespeare Festival. My dad was in theater when I was a youth, and I have seen theater all over the country. But I’ve never had the chance to make my Oregon Shakespeare dream come true … Until this year, when my dear friends Jim Rosenthal and Carol Anne Modena, who have a rustic hideaway in Norwood, as well as a home in Port Townsend, invited me to join them, driving from Colorado to Oregon for the festival. I jumped at the chance.

HENRY IV … I’ve seen various productions of Shakespeare, both local community productions and movie productions like the recent film of Robin Lough’s Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch. The local shows have varied from exceptional to problematic. And seeing a film of a theater show just isn’t the same, as exceptional as Cumberbatch was and as well done as the National Theater production. Without the immediacy of a living person in front of you, celluloid is a pale shadow of the gestalt of the stage … So, I was excited to see professional actors interpreting Shakespeare at a festival renowned for its production excellence. And I was not disappointed … We got tickets for Henry IV (Part Two), and it was a treat, because I knew very little of the play or of that period of English history … The actors were amazing. Every gesture, every intonation contributed to the conceit. I was moved to tears, literally. And found myself laughing uproariously at Falstaff and his antics … Amazingly, although the language was difficult and the metaphors complex and original, I never felt lost. What might have been obscure in the wording was shown clearly embedded in the action, the way the actors carried themselves, how they motioned, paused or distributed emphasis … I think it will be hard to ever see another Shakespeare play without comparing it to the professional show I saw in Ashland, where I felt like I understood every speech, if not every line.

NINE LIVES #12 … As an astrological cat (Leo’s my sign, McRedeye sez), I almost lost it on Poncha Pass coming back from Salida in a moderate snowstorm back in October – the first of the season. I’d decided not to attempt Monarch. Had experienced some dicey times dodging stuck vehicles on that steep pass. So planned to take the long way out of Salida south to Saguache and over Cochetopa Pass to Gunnison … All the roads were slippery. Especially the lower part of Poncha. Fresh snow on top of sheet ice. I was passing slow vehicles but carefully. And had settled into a steady climb in third, when rounding a curve suddenly I see this heavy-duty pickup flipped over and careening towards me in the fast lane of the two uphill lanes. It’s being dragged by an outsized horse trailer that’s come around on the truck and is sliding along the guardrail of the downhill lane. They whiz past and I don’t even slow down. But a glance in the rearview mirror reveals the horse trailer flipping over like the pickup as it rounds the curve behind me … For a long ways after, I flash headlights. Try to get downhill vehicles to slow down. The snow is inexplicably lighter and the road less slick as I make it up to Poncha Pass and out onto the San Luis Valley … It will be a whole series of adventures, the storm easing up and then gusting fiercely, before I make it into Gunnison. Grab a mocha breve and try to calm my over-amped nerves.

IT COULD BE A BOOK … It’s a wild Paleohippic life I lead. Dashing across the state in all kinds of weather. For Ute reconciliation. For poetry. For politics. For family, friends & fun. Meeting incredible new characters. Reconnecting with old pals & sharing stories … OR, I could be caffeined to a screen. Manipulating glowing pixel embers of coal. Telling my tales to a plug-in machine. Facts embellished into fiction. Or maybe even a religion, like Joseph Smith, creating sacred cloth out of his idiosyncratic visions … Doing an oped column is far more humble. And halffun, ’cause I get to experience things to write about. Not quite a book, but always on the hunt for stories … McRedeye sez: One can give witness to the world, or be the world. Delicious choice!

KOKANEE SPAWNING … My son got in the annual salmon run in the upper reaches of the Dolores River this fall. So amazing to have salmon this high in the Rockies … According to fish experts, Kokanee are a healthier fish because they are not predators, and therefore don’t accumulate mercury like crawdads, trout, and bass. They utilize the middle lake habitat, live away from the shoreline and predators, and feed on phytoplankton.

Art Goodtimes writes from San Miguel County, Colo.


THE TALKING GOURD

Too Grabby

Grabby’s Towing
pulled my car
from the quick-park spot
outside the dry cleaners.

Crass, to hook and take
whose dimensions I know
like my own body’s,
like my peripheral vision
for parallel parking.

I said, this is mine,
don’t you grab it
He said, you’re late, you lose.
Pay up. Rules.

Good news is,
Grabby didn’t open the doors,
touch the wheel,
fidget my possessions.

I’m back to perfect
parallel parking.

—Deborah Kelly
Boulder, Colo.

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From art-goodtimes.