Friday, August 11, 2017

Meeting the Unexpected--Carolyn R. Wilker

From The Guelph Enabling Garden website- Brian Holstein telling to an audience in the garden

This morning was planned months in advance—Tea and Tales, at The Enabling Gardens in Guelph. I was on deck with Jay Wilson, who is no stranger to theatre, with his puppet Prometheus. That the story telling was happening outdoors was just one of the features, in the beautiful Riverside Park in that fair city.
Several things have come into play over the last month and a half. One, that the crowd of seniors and others has multiplied over previous years so that there have been a hundred or more at any one telling. Maybe celebrating the 10th anniversary of Tea and Tales had something to do with it, or that the organizer, Brian Holstein, and his crew from Guelph Storytelling Guild did a lot of work to advertise the events. It may be the  first year that they used Facebook, but they also put up posters around town and promoted it to Baden Guild, of which I am a member, and any other people they knew who might be interested in the event.
When you have an outdoor event, you need to recognize that the weather can affect it. Today started out cloudy and overcast, meaning I could look into my audience’s faces without the need of a sunhat or sunglasses. It’s not really unexpected that there could be clouds and the chance of rain—sometimes a big chance—yet we started out with sunshine and a cool breeze coming off the river. Other Friday mornings this summer, the gathering located itself under one of the picnic shelters, but not this time. We hoped the rain would hold off just long enough. And before the stories began, we receive a blessing from a First Nations member who reminded us we were telling on what was truly native soil.

From Brian Holstein's photos of Tea and Tales

I’d asked to tell second since my friend Doris was coming from work in Kitchener and would be a bit late arriving, and so Jay took his place at the mic after introductions. I would follow him, to tell the second half of the hour.
Probably a good thing Jay went first as he had a laptop beside him. He used it for sound effects when he worked with Prometheus and also background music for a poem he recited that had been written by John Galt, founder of the city. His half hour was quite entertaining, and rain would not have been good for his laptop.

 past storytelling adventures- Open Doors Waterloo 2012

I began with a humorous short anecdote to follow up Jay’s serious ending to a historical tale, then followed with a folk tale, "Old Joe and the Carpenter," from storyteller Pleasant DeSpain. Then a personal story and another from childhood. I’d asked Brian, the host, to give me a signal concerning time, and he did. Not at 10 and 5 as we had planned, but at 5 minutes because of the raindrops that had already fallen.
Several people had put up their umbrellas, but I had the canopy of the tree that helped for part of my performance. The clouds threatened to give way. I offered one last short story and a woman came and stood by my side with her umbrella open, to protect me. I kept on telling, in spite of light rain, and finished the last story, another folk tale, "The Theft of Smell," by Pleasant DeSpain from his collection Tales of Wisdom and Justice.
As in storytelling today, there are often surprises, such as the small brown rabbit that hopped out of nowhere and right across the stage area as I told. I paused briefly as other eyes followed the rabbit's path, then resumed my story. A fellow storyteller said it reminded her of Snow White when the animals all came out when she appeared. Kind of neat that it happened.
Surprises in life happen often, in family and in community, some of them not so pleasant, with long-lasting effects, than at other times. But today's surprises were not hard to take. With God’s grace that holds us and his presence when we need it, we can handle the weather, even in a beautiful garden.

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.”  2 John 1:3  NIV

where my stories began
 picture book available now from my website


Peter Black said...

Well, another well-told story from you, Carol. You painted the scene so well, including the surprise rabbit appearance (what a neat highlight!), that I had no difficulty at all placing myself in your audience. Thank you. ~~+~~

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

I had fully planned on being there to hear you, but something unavoidable came up. Now I wish I had been I'd really like to hear some of your tales. Keep me informed of other opportunities.

Glynis said...

Ha! Love the rabbit story and aligning it to the animals coming out to listen, too. And then how kind of that lady with the umbrella, Love those impromptu moments.

I know you did a splendid job, as usual. Well done and thanks for sharing this lovely story here.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you, Peter, Ruth and Glynis. It's always a treat to see people in the audience whom I know. I know how those things happen, Ruth. I will let you know of other times. One of them will be at my book launch for Harry's Trees and I know you'll be occupied that day.

Here's my blog post with photos from that morning at Guelph.


Thank you all for stopping by and commenting.

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