Old Traditions & New Years
When I was little my Mom and I would take a walk to the Rio Grande Bosque with our dog Chula around Christmas time. Amongst the cottonwoods and salt cedar was a little pine tree that we would visit. It was about as tall as I was, and as this tradition has continued I have grown and the tree is now over 20 feet high. For Winter Solstice we create peanut butter and birdseed ornaments to hang on the tree for the birds and the coyotes and we bring snacks and drinks for ourselves. The past couple years my Mother has been making Hot Buttered Rum! Sometimes other family members join us if they are in town, but this winter it was just me, my Mom and our dog Sola, and it was really special.
I wondered what it was like for my mom to be walking with me, now 34 years old, and a new dog, down the same path we used to walk when I was little. It was chilly and a lot later than we usually walk out there in the wilderness. We finished decorating the tree and then found a nice spot on the bank of the river to open our thermos of hot buttered rum and watch the sun go down as we heard the ducks and cranes sound their nighttime songs. When we decided to walk back it was dark, I lit the flashlight app on my phone and we made our way back to civilization. It was a little scary, I have to admit, as I have gotten older my imagination tends to create horrible scenarios, most likely because of the T.V. shows I watch. We knew there were probably coyotes out there tracking us, I was holding Sola on the leash and she was on high alert. But being there with my mom I felt safe, we kept talking and making noises with plastic bags and pretty soon we relaxed when we were back at the car.
Despite the dark walk home, it was so peaceful, so beautiful and a perfect moment to have before leaving New Mexico for another job in another town. My mother is a big promoter of traditions and as I have gotten older I am thankful for them because they remind me of where I come from, something that I always keep in mind as I excavate the lives of different characters in my work.
This New Year’s Eve I took myself out for a night on the town in downtown Dallas! My fiance was out of town, my castmates were with their loved ones and I was in the mood to treat myself to a good dinner. I am an Open Table fanatic, I love collecting dining points and discovering new restaurants. I found a cute little french restaurant, Mercat Bistro, that was near downtown and had a reasonable Prix Fixe menu for NYE. The restaurant also happened to be near the American Airlines Center where they had a big NYE concert and fireworks at midnight. I walked over there after dinner and could almost imagine what it would be like to be at Time Square in NYC, there were so many people!
The Dallas Theater Center has given me a rental car to share with the actor playing Oedipus, however I have discovered the car service LYFT, and rather than drive myself to dinner and drinks in Dallas I have been using this service. The girl who picked me up had the car decorated in balloons, glow bracelets and a mini disco ball, it was super festive and a great start to the evening. I exited her car with my green glow bracelet and walked into the little bistro.
Dinner started with a glass of Moet champagne along side my first course of King Crab stuffed Mushrooms. The second course was a glass of Prosecco with a Seasonal Vegetable Salad. The main course was a bold Spanish Red Blend along side a fantastic Filet Mignon with grilled asparagus and Fois Gras (The best I have ever had!) Dessert was ice cream and assorted cookies. Knowing that they would be busy I asked to sit at the bar so I didn’t take up a table. I made friends with the waitress, bartender and the gentleman sitting beside me and to my surprise he picked up my tab! It was a fantastic start to the New Year, having a total stranger feed a starving artist.
Having the Winter Solstice tradition with me while embarking on a new play in a new year helps keep me balanced. I can remember the beautiful sunset and the sweet Hot Buttered Rum when I need to relax, and I can call upon the memory of the dark walk back to the car to keep me alert and on my toes. It’s no coincidence that the year started off with a New Moon, the magical time for new beginnings and a time to set new goals. I am thankful for the Old ways and the New, and I embrace this next journey into the world of Oedipus El Rey…