It is time to step onto the stage - and to do so barefoot. Nothing barring our connection with Earth. Panto season, as we have known it, is over. The costumes - now torn and musty - no longer quite cut it.
This season, Panto-by-TV-Zoom was on offer. It was both awful and dreadful. As Panto, by its nature, is. That's part of its charm. Yet this awfulness acted as a mirror to the dreadful endemic delusion and confusion of communication we now find ourselves in. Locked down in our home cells the only permissible way to connect, it seems, is through AI rather than Air.
(A Buzz off stage: 'Something key is missing....R...are you understanding Me?' )
The saving grace of live panto is the raucous, irreverent and slightly bawdy interaction between players and audience. A mirror of human life, Panto is a pit of actors where everyone present is on stage - where ever they find themselves placed in the theatre.
Now how can that happen with a flat screen of pixels being relayed in delayed time to a couch potato or two?
Still, it does feel like we are truly in a Panto at the moment - waking up not sure if we are in some surreal dream. (Who was it that climbed the citadel? Did the baddie die? Did the heroine accept the hero? Did I laugh til my sides ached and was the queue for ice cream and the screech of the young ones bouncing off walls bearable?) At least - please tell me this is so - TV panto reduces the plastic waste of a live show.
None of us can go to The Ball tonight and again we wake, now to find the shoe doesn't fit. Even the 'golden one', the de-light-full one herself, has lost her fragile glass slipper. Take heed to how you step now. Do we really have to mutilate ourselves? Or - it is nearly midnight - is it time to mutate?
This tale of cinders has hobbled across Europe - even turning up among Sami tales of the Far North* - to entertain families over generations. Now, as in Cinders, we find we have to stay at home.
What is the tale we are to 'talk and walk' these days? Sharp quarried stone, broken glass, scorched forest highways each we have co-created. We can take a sharp edge against our skin and bone to try to fit into another's walk or we can cast aside these props to stand as neutral and naked as a rooted tree. To find and speak our own true line, the one that echoes with the stuff of old yet unfolds as a new tale.
'Wall that Went for a Walk': Andy Goldsworthy, Grizedale Forest
Over on the far side of this Perfect Planet Theatre I hear tell something rather splendid has and is occurring.
A great spectacle has quietly been talked of for as long as the Rock** has stood as a beacon in the desert.
The Rainbow Serpent comes on stage - hoisted from the rafters and raised from the depths. Gleaming with Celestial Light and the fire of our Earthen Heart, snaking into our awareness. Re-minding us that our old skin is now shedding and what is revealing is just how gorgeous we are in our vulnerability.
Surely it is time to go barefoot and trust our soles.
Our newly bared skin may not match the wisdom-patterns of the Old Fellas but at least, at last we could begin to take a seat and ready ourselves for a drama about to unfold. A Tale to listen deep to. A drama of such wonder that no child will need to coerce adults into buying fake light displays, and no adult will feel the need to comply as each will shimmer with such grounded celestial wisdom as the child takes their cautious parent by the hand to lead the way, snaking as a river across dry land into our glorious future.
'Serpent Egg': Sue Gould, Yorkshire Limestone
*The Daughters of Njavisædne and Atsisjædne'as collected by Emilie Demant Hatt