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  • The carnival has come and gone, like an internet romance, like a desert mirage.

    There are those bare, weed strewn acres out at the fairgrounds that briefly come to life with tents and rides and the clank of great machines
    that throw people, screaming, around in the sky, whirling them into dazzled disorientation.

    The carnival comes to town, and for a week there is a sparkling city, an oasis of multicolored lights, music, popcorn, and the promise
    of forgetting yourself, risking your life, tasting danger: What if a cable snaps? What if one of these spinning cars should fall?

    There is a circus tent, with tired tigers who lazily jump through hoops of fire, lithe, muscled daredevils, handsome men who are willing
    to work without a net, and exotic foreign women who pole dance high in the air, their sequined stockings glittering.

    I have been in airplanes, looking down at small Midwestern towns in summer, where from time to time I would see a carnival,
    its multicolored constellations winking against the night, distant and soundless, like a small universe in deep space.

    I have felt a twinge of nostalgia, then, remembering honeysuckle summers, and what it was like to be stuck for an hour
    at the top of the ferris wheel, and how we kissed carefully then, so as not to lose our balance in the sky.

    The carnival has come and gone, the fairgrounds are quiet now, and paper cups and candy wrappers blow across the landscape,
    so recently magical and bright. Like an internet romance, that promises so much, the whirling of digits, the magic, the illusion,
    the breathtaking thrills of discovery and instant connection – the blissful disorientation, the falling through deep space,
    the risk of it - “I love you. We must be soul mates. I have never felt like this before. We must meet! Where do you live?"

    And then the carnival must move on, to another town, and the internet romance also must move on, because that is its nature :
    impermanence, glitter and brief hope. Brief hope that perhaps this carnival - love is the one that will stay, embrace us, make its home in our town,
    be here for us when we need to be taken out of ourselves, become our permanent impermanent lover, an escape from our treadmill lives.

    With our whole hearts, like kids, we want love. We want tigers who have not forgotten the jungle, jumping through those hoops of fire,
    we want heroes on the high wire who will fall in love with us and with whom we can live happily ever after, and if we are female,
    we want to look like those sexy acrobats doing their pole dances, with the elegant bodies and graceful moves, sweating and smiling through their pain.

    We wan tall this to reach out and embrace us, take us deeper into ourselves, transform our town, our lives, our sense of how much we can love life,
    and be loved in return, if only given half a chance, oh please! If only given any chance at all.

    (Photo by AJN in Family Carnival in the virtual 3-D world of Second Life)
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