The Farmer’s Almanac says that Midsummer celebrates the joy of long, warm days spent outside in the summertime.
Midsummer has always meant the month of July to me. Guests at my parent’s summer cocktail parties would discuss that July was the month that the water in Alcova lake near my childhood home would “turnover”. The picture in my mind is of a Tsunami wave in the lake, but turnover is a real, natural phenomenon. The top layer of the lake and the bottom layer of the lake trade places. In the summer, the air temperature rises, warming the surface water while the bottom grows colder. Turnover is like folding chocolate chips into cookie dough. The average water temperature at Alcova Lake after the turnover hovers around 60 degrees, not very toasty.
My family would spend weekends at the lake, water skiing and sailing. The boat activities were great fun but spending more than a few minutes in the water was not. The adults enjoyed a leisurely powerboat ride through Fremont Canyon with its sparkling clear water and sheer walls over one hundred feet high. My brothers and I would spend hours waterskiing, stopping only to refill the gas tank. Falling while waterskiing was a challenge, the fallen skier would wait in the freezing water for the boat to come back around, while keeping skis afloat. We got really good at staying on our skis because falling was torturous, almost like a Polar Plunge.
Casper Mountain is another magical, year round destination. We’d ski and snowmobile in the winter and picnic and hike in the summer. The base of the waterfalls at Garden Creek is my favorite spot for a picnic. Listening to the cascading waterfalls while sitting amongst Ponderosa Pines and Aspen trees is the most perfect place to eat lunch and tell stories about Crimson Dawn.
Crimson Dawn is a Midsummer’s Eve celebration that began in 1930 when a woman writer and her two small daughters took up residence in a little cabin on Casper Mountain. The writer entertained her children by telling them stories of the fairy folk that lived in the forest near their cabin. The woman was inspired during an early morning walk by the deep red color of the sandstone, and came up with the idea of a world called Crimson Dawn. The mother of two built an entire fantasy world around a story of seven witches, a phantom wood chopper, a blind minstrel, moon maidens, a leprechaun, and three elves. These fictional, friendly residents of Casper Mountain are only active on Midsummer’s Eve. The Midsummer’s celebration that began almost one hundred years ago has continued all these years later and the original cabin is now a museum.
William Shakespeare’s most beloved and produced work is a play called A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It has everything; comedy, drama, magic, passion, fairies, lovers, and clowns. The dominant theme of the play is enduring and triumphant love. Four people run away to the forest only to have Puck the fairy make both of the boys fall in love with the same girl. Titania, Oberon, and Puck are fairies whose magical powers allow them to alter reality. Many characters are tricked into believing that they were dreaming the bizarre events that happen to them.
The realm that Shakespeare creates in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the world of imagination. The inhabitants of the fairy woods invite us to follow them on the path of endless fantasy. The play ends happily with the fairy rulers blessing the human marriages.
Perfect Storm Players with The Avalon Theater bring the mischief and magic of a Midsummer Night’s Dream to Talbot County for four FREE performances next weekend July 14 – July 16. Cecile Davis Storm and Casey Rauch have once again collaborated to give the audience a wonderful one hour version of the iconic play. It will be pure delight for every member of the family. Don your fairy wings and join in the fun.
Studies have shown that live community theater can open the door to understanding relevant issues affecting society and motivate people to champion change. We learn to better assess words and emotions from ourselves and others as well as respect and tolerate other ideas and values. Community theater has the special power to bring us all together, to help our towns become communities. It offers the best of every world. There are creative aspects, artistic, social, and business aspects for everyone on the stage and in the audience.
“Your creativity has value. You’re not wasting your time dreaming.” – Ron Howard
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.