The signs of the season are all around us. The grass is liberated from its icy white sleep, the leaves have begun to reach for the sun, a warm wind brings the air of summer, and Circus Smirkus is up and running again. Yes, perhaps my favorite sign of the summer is the white and blue tents that dot the various skylines of New England.
I’m Aaron, the PR Intern at Smirkus Camp this summer; a Smirkus super-fan, I’ve seen the Smirkus tour every year since 2000. I was five when I discovered Smirkus, my mom took me a town over to Montpelier and I instantly fell in love with the magic of it all. As I was finishing up my Junior year at Ithaca College this spring, I met some people who will be working at camp this summer who rekindled my ambition for Smirkus. So here I am on my way to the source of the magic, a sleepy Greensboro hill on the apply named Breezy Avenue. Along my drive I see many signs of my summer to be spent at Smirkus Camp: the green mountains of my home state, the lakes and ponds that dot the valleys, the occasional kid running around in their front yard. All signs point to a good summer.
I see a sign that says Summer Camp Area, as if the highway itself is rooting for this impossible dream of mine and the impossible dream of Smirkus to happen. And every time I see something Smirkus I am reminded of the magic impossibility of it all. In a rational, realistic world there would be no way that a circus could pitch its tents in the unpredictable Vermont weather, travel across New England roads, and draw talented youth from all over the world to their canvas home. And yet, here they are today.
I pull into the camp driveway and take it all in. I see juggling clubs resting on the gravel roads like flowers poking through cement, and markers for the tents soon to be raised. I am not in a rational, realistic world, I’ve finally run away with the circus. The impossible dream of my five year old self, a dream that I too would run away to Smirkus has finally happened. And it’s looking at the Smirkus Camp sign I realize that the magic that has made this impossibility a reality is not of some olden mystic circus spell, but it’s love. The love that brings skilled people from all areas and disciplines to work days, nights, and weekends to make this dream a reality for the campers and for people like me who have felt the Smirkus magic over the years.
I begin to walk around the camp when I see the best sign of all, it’s not big or prestigious but a little whiteboard message that says, “Welcome home.” And I am.