No – not politics. But the small but mighty Circus Smirkus in Greensboro, VT. It is here that kids from 10-17 gather for the summer and train in circus arts before hitting the road for 68 shows around New England and New York. We attended opening night and howled with laughter and feared for the performers’ safety the way parents do. This circus is the best of Vermont. You park in a farm field, bottoming out on a rock. You sit in bleachers under a tiny Big Top, erected by a local crew. Pete Johnson, the local farmer/revolutionary, is there with his daughter sitting on the ground. The circus CEO is sitting in front of us. Just behind us with the knees in our backs are locals from Craftsbury Common, making sure their little tyke doesn’t jump into the ring. But of course, Smirkus is so much more than the circus. A small group of kids, coached by adults, come together for a summer and learn about each other, the world beyond themselves, about a cause bigger than they, about teamwork, compromise. About what it takes to be a citizen.
Best part of the night? Not a cell phone in sight, anywhere. Just smiles and laughter around incredible creative hard work. (Thank you Diane Zeigler)
Second best part of the night – Driving the country road as day turns to dusk and pulling in for a late dinner at the famous Highland Lodge, overlooking Caspian Lake, a wedding over there, a local jazz trio on the porch, no reservation necessary. The hay is in the barn.