Kage Baker died before any of us even knew that her namesake nephew-of-love was on the way. I mean, we all knew his parents were trying, but the target baby had not yet been acquired. Kage had faith he would be, though, and left numerous orders for things she wanted delivered and said to him when he got here.
I got to fulfill part of that geas today, when a good lot of us gathered in a park for a picnic and a naming. It was my great honour to officiate at the ceremony, and now Alexander (Sasha) Kage Paladini is named and claimed! Mind you, at this point – he won’t be a year old for a few months – the man of the hour probably thinks his name is “Honeypie sugar face little everloving jellybean NO NO NO!”. But that’s all right. We know who he is.
At this point it also looks unlikely he’ll learn to walk. He wants to, very obviously; but he just gets passed from eager arms to more eager arms, to laps, to shoulders … luckily, he is an amiable and cuddly little guy. And if the besotted grownup won’t put him down, Sasha just straightens his legs and bounces on their stomach. He’s a champion bouncer.
While we adults sat about and ate and drank and cooed at the beautiful boy, the older kids (from almost-3 to almost-18. Where the hell has the time gone?) ran around and played on swings and climbed backwards up slides and actually took good care of one another. Most of them have spent part of their lives so far at Faires, and consequently they are a competent and self-confident bunch.
A hot summer afternoon in Northern California, eating watermelon and cherries and watching the children run around … gossiping, telling wild and true stories, listening to DJ and Buffalo playing the music of dreams on their dulcimers … finally DJ started to sing, and then some of the rest of us joined in. And then it was Paradise.
I’ve spent so many afternoons like this one, resting contentedly in the heat of the afternoon, with all the work done and everything at peace, singing. It’s one of the perfect parts of my life – cold drink in hand, no one quarreling, everyone fed, half-a-dozen people improvising harmony to the old, old songs.
Sometimes only one of us knows the words, and the rest hum and then chime in on the chorus. Faire people can learn a chorus by heart, halfway through the first time they hear it – it’s in our blood.
I haven’t sung much the last two years, because I didn’t know how to do it without Kage’s voice singing harmony. But today I sang. And I discovered that some of what I sing isn’t the melody at all – it’s harmony Kage taught me, because that was what she wanted me to sing! Kage herself could harmonize with a garbage disposal if she had to: teaching a good melodic line to a silly soprano was easy.
So I’m still singing Kage’s melodies. They’re what I know. And I can hear her in my head, her alto coalescing out of all the other voices to guide me on. It was the best afternoon I’ve had in quite some time.
Thank you, everyone, for the very new joy of Alexander Kage, who solemnly gave his old Auntie Kate a lovely kiss on her nose. Thank you, everyone, for singing the way we used to under the oaks, all our voices blending. DJ, Buff, Mongo, Neassa … ah, the voices rising up like incense from the hot summer earth!
Thank you, thank you all.