Rehearsals start tomorrow morning.

That’s what’s written in my day planner. I turned the page, saw the entry, and the reality of the last 11 weeks finally sunk in.

For the last 14 years, people from across Canada have come to the Ross Creek Centre to be part of an ensemble of artists who have been working on one long 14-year long project to attempt to discover what makes us human. We’ll never find the answer, but the work itself is the reward.

Over that time, members of the ensemble have become a part of my family. I treasure these people. We chose each other, and we spend a big part of our lives together. We have raised kids together at the Creek. We’ve argued. We’ve laughed. Instruments are played. Beaches have been claimed. This year we can’t do that.

For me, the loss I am feeling most keenly is not the delay in getting to work on a play-painful though that is. It’s the separation from the people who mean so much to me, and a renewed sense of how precious our time together is, that hurts the most.

When theatres come back to work, not every production will be brilliant just because we were away. It will be hard work, and the joy of being reunited will be tempered by what we have endured and how the world is changing. The day I long for is not the first opening night. It’s the first day we come back together, from across the country, on the North Mountain, and look at each other, and know that we are where we choose to be. Together.