The Big Blue Tent

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On Hwy 13 between Washburn and Bayfield, high above the lake at a ski hill called Mt. Ashwabay, is a summer place of music - Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua.

No visit to Chequamegon Bay is complete unless it has included a show at the Big Top. And like a number of the good things of life - once is not enough.

Come along with me to the big blue tent . . .

It's a warm August Saturday, we've spent the day sailing, are tanned and relaxed, the meal at The Pier in Bayfield was, as is usual, great - we even had time for a quick stroll on the pier, to "see who's coming in and who's going out.

"As the car turns to climb the long hill, someone starts to hum a tune, and then we are singing.

"Going to be a brand new town, a brand new town,
shining city, someday, queen of the Superior country."

It's a "Riding The Wind" night, seen it who knows how many times, know the words to every song.

But still, somehow, anticipation builds.

Tent lights dim. An expectant, near reverent hush ripples through the full house of 800. Even children swallow their chatter, sensing the approach
of something special.

At the touch Bruce Bower's nimble fingers a synthesizer sounds an other-worldly tune that vibrates in the soul, rolling the air like a night breeze through a pine forest.

Our story tellers step into the single spot. And it begins.

"Old winds are about tonight. Old steps up the street.
It's not long a human lives, but the place underneath
stays the same - through all those changes made.
Now you drive over roads they paved, over tote
roads they laid, over moccasin trails of the first ones.
But what's new?
Way back then they loved one another,
and some didn't get along."

Too soon it's over. We are quiet as we depart. The silence of appreciation.

In a few weeks "Old Last Night" will come. And we know we will gather round a bonfire long after midnight, and as the sparks disappear in a star filled sky, someone will ask Warren Nelson to sing Autumn Fancy.

"Lake hills turn the color of a foxes coat,
easy in the breeze the leaves go cold,
when the birch turn yellow and the maple red,
apples are ripe up overhead.
When the Fall is falling all around,
get your wood up quick,
Winter coming to town.
The way the Indian Summer lays on the bay,
this fine October day.
Blue on the big lake,
blue in the sky,
blue down the river of the time gone by,
green come a summer to a golden end,
yellow is the eye over earth my friend."

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Visit Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua

Copyright 1998 - 2013   by Lew Miller, DBA Marlew Publishing.
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