I go to the Lynden Fair with my belly dancing class, not to perform but to help wherever needed. I arrive Capricorn early and wander the crowds watching people with corn dogs, funnel cakes and dripping ice cream cones. Blasting hiphop with jet fast words, aisles of vendors, screaming children run under a spray of welcome water and people smile from wheelchairs.
Without knowing it, I head for the Sheep & Goat Barn. Inside the dark barn, I stop still with emotion, my throat tight, water blurring my vision. Heavy dusty air laced with the fragrance of hay and the bleat of a discontented ewe. Rows of penned goats. Llamas too regal to face the admiring crowd.
I have not been to a fair in six summers. I had been over-faired. Over fiften years ago, I said NO MORE FAIRS. I did four that summer. Our grandson lived with us and joined 4-H with a cashmere goat he entered in the local fair. Then he took a ribbon at state. I entered handspun and handknit items in two fairs, that year and many others.
Then I became Superintendent of the Wool Barn for a couple of years, dividing tasks with other fiber freaks. Valerie and I became Superintendents for the new Handspun Fiber Arts division. We both did that until we each moved out of state. Summers of heat and hot fiber and dust.
No more fairs seemed only reasonable. The wheel spins, the sasons change and there I was in the Wool Room at the Lynden Fair watching people spin, checking out fleece, thinking I should warp my table loom. Fairs always inspire me. I contemplate a new knitting project, forgetting all that are in progress.
I lean into a Nubian pen, let her sniff my words as I speak of the beauty of her slanted eyes. Big black faced closely shorn sheep, perhaps Suffolk. Blanketed girls, Merino or Correydale or some other fine fiber. Just as I can no longer bare the heartache and joy, a pen of three Icelandic ewes. I turn to their pen, tell them what stellar beauties they are. That old feeling surfaces: desire. I could covet these sweet sheep in a minute. Is that why I race from the Barn with a head full of memories galloping over my eyelids? I forget to see if I can buy an Icelandic fleece.
And the Bellydancers of Bellingham delighted young and old, truly the beauties of the fair.