I believe winter has truly come. Temperatures have dipped well below zero in Chicago and the Twin Cities, and even my parents are burning logs in the fire place down in Louisiana. However, that hasn’t kept me from training up and getting ready for the long slow distance I will face this summer and fall on the Mississippi River Trail. A House Unbuilt company members Zack Bailey, Angela Gronroos, Carla Gruby, Lisa Leszczewicz, and myself participated in a rather chilly F3 Half Marathon in Chicago a couple of weekends ago. I figure if I can run in the coldest cold, I just might be ready to run in the hottest hot—which is what I’ll be facing in July, August, October and November through the ten states along the Mississippi River!
But I’m not here today to just write about running. Another big milestone that recently occurred during this chilly winter is marking off the 6 month countdown to the start of Relay. As of today, we are 22 weeks away, and my anxiety is indeed building. I keep looking at my stack of file folders containing the notes on each of the 104 communities—some overflowing with information and others still needing some work. I worry is there enough time to pull it all together, and yet I keep the faith as I never have before. We have so much support from each of these communities, so much generosity—this is truly what keeps me going.
I remember when I got the feedback from the grant panel after being awarded my first (and so far only) major grant for this project. They said the project was “crazy”—the “craziest” even… To be specific, they said “the budget is eye opening, likely appropriate to the scale. On the one hand it is an innovative approach to creating social practice through dance, on the other hand it’s crazy!” Smile. These are all the things I feel right now. The truth of this and the weight of it.
What is dance? What is community? What is creating dance and community in real time with real people? Using shared histories, shared endurance, and social activism, among other things… This is Relay.