My date was a little shorter and a little pinker than usual, but she was a great date. We went to see Into the Woods at South Eugene High School and had an incredible night… on a few levels.
The obvious one being that any night with Winnie at the theater is a good one. She eats it up—everything from the music (“How many violins are there?”) to the sets (“See mom? They made those to look like books. But they’re not.”) to the characters (“So, the witch isn’t all bad. Not all witches have to be bad all the time.”) gets this one going. Throw in fairy tales, princesses, a pretty hilarious cow and high school girls and we’ve got our selves a winner of a night.
On a less happy, but very incredible level was what I experienced in that auditorium tonight. For those of you who do not live in town, two amazing young men—Seniors at South Eugene High—died tragically on the coast two weeks ago when a sneaker wave stole their lives from us while 4 of their friends watched in desperate helplessness. They were not being foolish or careless—they were victims of a freak accident that has left our community stunned and, now, two weeks into our mourning. Jack’s funeral is tomorrow—and until tonight, I’ve debated whether or not to go. I know his parents from my work at the Y—and the web of connection goes deep with many people in my Y community, so I thought I’d probably attend his funeral. Then, I went to Into the Woods tonight—a show that was dedicated to Jack and Connor. I watched close friends of theirs tell the metaphoric tale of how life inevitably leads us into the woods where we get lost, encounter danger, fear, loss and heartache, and emerge somehow whole and hopeful. The kids on stage tonight had a collective talent that rivaled any show I’ve seen (including on Broadway) and their “show must go on” resolve oozed from their pores as they belted out lyrics which under normal conditions would have been poignant and tear-jerking. Tonight, as they sang No One is Alone and No More through their own (character –appropriate) tears, my arm hairs stood on end. And when the curtain came down and then raised up again to show them out of character and holding each other up as they laughed and cried their way through the curtain call, I knew I had attended my celebration of these two young boys who were taken from us and have given us so much to remember, learn and become. “Sometimes people leave you, Halfway through the wood, Do not let it grieve you, No one leaves for good. You are not alone. No one is alone.”
Not a normal blog post, I realize, but these have not been normal times… I am once again reminded of how fortunate I am—we all are—to have this amazing day.