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lovelies,

dubuque, iowa. i was out in the skiff scouting and on standby to nose the raft in if there were problems docking in the harbor so i got to see the full eclipse as our boat drifted gently past diamond jo's casino; it's attempt to look like a river showboat garrish against the ghostly flickering of our junk raft.

most likely i'll leave before the boat does and so it was a farewell to me. watching such a cumbersome, colorful, patchwork monstrosity drift gracefully through the water never ceases to amaze me even though it has been my home for nearly six weeks. and i can't image giving up a life without electricity, privacy, running water, constant access to civilization, a life where peeing in front of twenty people is normal. where you're lucky if you get to eat with a fork or have a dry pair of pants and there's always someone to kiss your neck and write something obscene on your arm when you're feeling sad.

since i last wrote we have migrated in our slow, unpredictable and unprecidented manner from winona through la crosse and prairie du chein, stopping in these towns to perform, workshop, decompress, converse, bulk up on supplies. intermittently we camp on islands and stretches of beach that look as though no human has come before us. herons squawk, mosquitos swarm, beavers fwap their tails noisily, irritated at our intrution. we build a fire, eat a meal around it, sing and play music (i'm learning the banjo) and drift off to our tents or nooks on the boat to sleep to the soft lapping of tideless water and the dull screech of crickets, a few of which always accompany us in our potted plants the next morning as we make our way down the river once again.

living like this with 20 other people is so intense and full. we spent two days on an island we called "bi-poland"(one side of the island was rocky and beachless with poison ivy covering it, the other sandy with a winding pathway to a duck-weed covered pond over which an almost-full moon rose) sorting through our emotions, remeeting each other, crying together, switching clothes and immitating each other, spitting watermelon seeds into the murk. we are trying to remember why we all came here, what our intentions were, what the purpose of this other life we are trying to create is and if we are accomplishing it.

most likely i will be back in seattle on the eleventh with a full heart and photos and stories aplenty. there is the chance that i will continue to run away with the circus and see you all at some undetermined future date. it's good to keep these things open, i suppose. it's good to take the path less troddened and see what could possibly come of it.

love,
gillian









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