Writing this from my desk here at home in L.A.. I’m ecstatic to be here in some ways and feel a bit lost in others. On my final morning in Edinburgh I woke at 4am for an early flight and the sky was a swampy blue-green, as if the city was underwater. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was an exhausting adventure and the learning curve was a steep one, but I will miss the wild, shifting Scottish skies.
I’ll also miss walking endless miles every day, until my knees ached from negotiating the cobblestone. I’ll miss the feeling of permission I get from being in a foreign city- permission to sit at a corner cafe and drink tea and breathe for a moment. Permission to not constantly be moving on to the next item on my to-do list. I’ll miss the sense of slowing down and also, paradoxically, of increased urgency. The kind of urgency with which you look at a gorgeous place when you know you won’t see it again for a very long time. The urgency that inspires you to meet people in the park and become fast friends and skip the small talk.
I loved the charged atmosphere of the festival. And mostly I loved how hard everyone was trying. I walked through the streets each afternoon and thought that the guy on stilts juggling swords in his underwear and the high school glee-club in their matching bedazzled t-shirts and the nocturnal comedians just waking to thoughts of the previous night’s triumph or humiliation- not one of them was sleepwalking through their day. They were all resolutely, sometimes painfully, alive. It was an electric thing to be a part of.
And now, the true spiritual challenge- how to stay resolutely alive when stationed in the outfield at baseball practice…