Sunday, July 16, 2006

In From The Fields (But Not For Long) 

Being a quick entry in the midst of a two-week volunteer gig which will otherwise keep me from blogging, as there ain't no net access in a New York cowfield.

Back under our own real roof for the afternoon and into tomorrow morning, but then we're off again for the wonder that is Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in all its thronging glory, and I can't wait to get back home.

Wednesday night we arrived in a rainstorm as the sun was going down, no one on site yet, but it had been a hell of a trip, what with picking up the picket fence, the total lack of RV batteries at any of three Wal-Marts, and a lost windshield wiper around Springfield.

The fields were muddy and bare, but the farmers were cool, and we bedded down along the road just inside the irrigation ditch to wait out the storm.

By morning there would be a few familiar faces, mostly those at the very core of executive function, there in their jeans and grubby tee shirts, building bridges down by the vendor rows, along nothing but open fields beside.

By the next day, there were twenty crewmen, staking out spots along the meager shade of the lowest treeline. Tents arose from the ground like mushrooms, white hats along the lowest field a skelleton of the festival to come: two on Thursday turning to the full dozen or more stages and stations by end of day Friday.

By Saturday, the tents were wired, and the staff kitchen opened for business. We staked a spot up on the hill along the outer edge of mainstage seating, where we may not have the best view, but we'll always have the closest safe haven from sun and crowd. At Parking John's demand we moved the volunteer camping line out fifty feet under our own toes, putting us smack dab in the edge of handicapped camping (we've promised to limp, if needed).

That night -- last night -- the staff tent was alive and boistrous in the dark, hard drinking and laughter around an ongoing fiddle-and-bass jam and singalong, until long after midnight.

In amidst all this I made it down the road apiece to Grey Fox a couple of times, where we chairhopped around the first few mainstage rows while all around us drunkards roared in the dark, and I fell in love with yet another couple of young, energetic bluegrass boybands; had dinner with my parents; found our camping buddy Dave and spent a hundred hours just sitting around smoking under the stars with the good old crowd.

Oh, and Willow made a dozen new friends, found older kids to watch and wonder at, had a birthday party in the field, with all the site crew kids whacking away at the pinata.

We've been living in the field, watching the community build slowly around us for four nights, and I miss it. The girls love living in the open; they're easier to watch outdoors; they cried when we left, and I'm glad to be able to give them back the land they love tomorrow.

Thanks God for Falcon Ridge, and the organic homegrown community that we rebuild every year, for it is my oasis, my mecca, my summer's peak. Thanks, God, for a family that loves the land and the people and the spirit as much as I do. And thank God we're going back in less than twelve hours.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:41 PM |

it is our pleasure and privalge to welcome you into the heart of falcon ridge. the volunteers are the soul, but,
all of us beating in synch, doing what needs to be done, together, are the heart. you are a huge weightlifter. ( the weight on my shoulders was surely reduced) (all within minutes) i can't think of one other person who could have taken the ball and run with it like you did. and with professionalism and grace and for this i thank you from the bottom of MY heart. talk to you soon. trying to set the date for the chiefs meeting.
thanks again josh you are much appreciated.
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