There were 24 obstacles in Miss Muddy at Sirromet on a recent weekend.
I watched six of them. I watched as other people scrambled up walls, swam through mud pits and jumped across inflated balls.
I watched and then I took the short cut to the next obstacle. There were no tricky side detours for me involving yet more obstacles. There was no climbing of that wall or jumping over those balls. I just watched.
And yet, after not walking the seven plus kilometres involved in the event, after not completing any obstacles and after not getting splashed with a single spot of mud, I arrived home utterly exhausted. (oh and a tiny bit sunburned).
It can be tiring just watching.
Actually it was a weekend of watching. Earlier in the weekend, I had attended Redfest, not truly as a participant but as that person whose job it is to record the event and the fun other people were having there. Such is the job of a journalist. Tempting as it might be to create the news, ours is an objective role, best tended from the sidelines.
I watched the lantern parade for example through the lens eye and had my first crack at a live facebook feed (Did anyone see it?) I was that annoying person to stand on a chair (but only momentarily) for Justice Crew in order to get a shot of the band. Having said that, I still couldn't see too much due to pretty much everyone else standing on chairs or sitting on shoulders doing exactly the same.
I did jig along a bit to the music and enjoyed watching the occasional hand thrown in the air which I could just see above the crowd. Suffice to say, the crowd loved it and it was warming to see a new crowd embrace our local festival.
I watched Miss Muddy with a bit of nostalgia for what was once possible. But it is Redfest that I feel the greatest affinity. The festival and I were born in the same year and next year we both share a zero birthday.
Perhaps that should be a year when I crawl through a bit of mud at Miss Muddy (well maybe Madam Muddy) and dance on the festival chair. A bit more activity may just drive those 'just watching' tiredness demons away.
- Linda Muller