Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Chaos, Continued 

Night swimming and outdoor showers. Endless seafood suppers: the freshest fried cod, clam chowder by the sea, Wellfleet oysters, lobster rolls galore. Beach days and long afternoons watching the kids totter around the patios, getting into mischief of one kind or another, while we coparent and chat with our new in-laws in turn.

Oh, and the wedding, of course. Which was beautiful, and uniquely theirs.

We've been three days in the second week house. The chaotic life of too much family and not enough time, too many hosts and not enough consensus wears like footprints on the dunes, eroding my psyche down to the bone. Felix and Willow -- once friends, now cousins -- begin to grate on each other, best friends but too young to know when it's time to take time for theimselves.

But town is close, and the pier is too; we walk down in pairs or families thrice a day or more, just to mix things up a little. I stay up until three, exhausted and sleepy, watch Adult Swim just to unwind. It is almost enough.

Darcie's parents arrive tomorrow, just in time for her birthday. Two weeks more, and my worklife starts up again as the school year, just visible on the emotional horizon, begins in earnest. I can't get the laptop to work with the broadband router in this new, second-tier capehouse, so this will be my last missive until Sunday, when we will be home, finally, and happy to be there, alone fulltime with my family and no one else, if only for the tiniest time before the workyear begins, and my soul is split, subsumed, fragmented for another year.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:15 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cape Heat 

Too hot to blog about an early start, the sweltering big top this morning, the kids in and out of the shower all afternoon.

Too hot to dwell overlong on the delightful breeze of the Vineyard ferry, or the fridge-to-oven transition, in infinite progression, of chasing the kids back in from the bouncy-horse in the yard at our old friend and late-stage MS sufferer Dan, who keeps his home at a frosty 61 degrees year-round.

Too hot to even consider a wedding tomorrow, unless the heat wave breaks, and fast.

Cape Cod as travel destination is seriously misleading. Every time you want to go anywhere it's a good hour and a half from here to there, but because it's still "the Cape", it seems perfectly sensible at the time. Back home, of course, we'd never head to Boston (a scant hour away) for the day, and certainly not five times in a week, back and forth like a wheeled metronome.

If the befevered and raspy-coughed wee one didn't sleep in the car, and if the car weren't the only air conditioned space we own, we'd stay, sit, melt into the deck chairs. As it is, we're 26 hours from the advent of wedding ritual, and if I have to take one more run to the grocery store, I might just keep on driving unti I end up home. It's only three hours, after all. Practically local, by Cape terms.

posted by boyhowdy | 4:16 PM | 1 comments

Monday, July 31, 2006

Cape Cod Continued: Cassia & Co. 

Long day with the kids as the rest of the family went off on various and sundries: my sister to the second day of her veterinarian's conference, Mama and Mom off running pre-wedding errands, Dad down to Florida to pick up his own father. By tomorrow night we'll have four generations in the house, and the newlyweds-to-be arrive in the wee hours tonight.

It's been a good while since I had such a long stint solo with my own children. Took 'em to the beach, but their hearts weren't in it; though the hermit crabs and other kids bright shiny beach toys attracted their attention for a while, it practically broke mine to see the wee one toddle around the sand calling for Mama. She fell asleep in the car on the way home, so we left her there in the shaded driveway while the elderkid and I watched PBS, a rare treat.

Which left us only two more hours to kill, post-nap.

Hint to Daddies who find themselves in my situation: The outdoor shower, balanced as it is with warm nakedness, is a good two-hour timekiller. The incidental cleanliness will win you mega-brownie points with the wife, too.

Drive-in tonight, for the second installment of the piratical Depp-vehicle. Plan was to leave both kids home with Mom and have a proper date, but the wee one wasn't having any of it; we dragged her along, she fell asleep in the car but awoke for the climax to stare owlish and awed at the screen. I think being in the car threw her a bit; she spent much of the time trying to guide my hands to the wheel, as if we could complete this whole movie experience by just driving into it.

House is starting to feel like where we live, at least for now. Nice to be able to blog under the stars, anyhow. Later, the meteor shower continues, I bet.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:37 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cape Cod Is All Around Us 

After four long hours on the road (how much longer now, Daddy?) I'm writing today from a patio deck chair, overlooking the bright, meadowed backyard of a rented home in Wellfleet, MA. The birds swoop low in the late afternoon sun.

There's wireless here. Also seven bedrooms, four and a half baths, two full kitchens, both my parents, and a holy host of family on their way over the next three days. The house is just big enough for the kids to feel left behind as we drag our things up our respective, almost Amsterdam-steep staircases. We've decided to leave the master bedroom for the happy couple, due to arrive Tuesday.

Supper soon, and a quick trip to the ocean. Because we're here, and because we can. Later, a long walk in the darkness, and perhaps an early start to the neverending quest for a local bar in every port. Or not; the wonderful thing about vacation is that, sometimes, you can wander with impunity.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:07 PM | 1 comments

Saturday, July 29, 2006

En Passant 

No net last night apres thunderstorm; Verizon's tech support was entirely unhelpful, and now I can't remember what my DNS server settings are supposed to be. Also, the red wash got a crayon in it, and it spotted everything pretty bad. Went to bed early, pissed and bored and grumpy, wondering what we did with our time before we were wired.

Spent a much better morning picnicing down the Connecticut coast with Darcie's extended family, celebrating past and impending birthdays and youngest sister Virginia's imminent departure for Hawaii, where she'll harvest, grow, and roast organic coffee on a tiny farm until she achieves full vertical integration in the coffee industry, or just gets sick and tired of working her butt off and comes home. Ginny, we'll miss you.

Back home, cleaning and packing, now that the muddy laundry we accumulated during our annual pilgrimage to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival is finally finished. Amazing how much mess a family of four can make in their own home in such a short time.

Five days home from the fields and tomorrow we're off again for the wilds of tip-of-the-cape Cape Cod, my extended family packed like sardines into a succession of houses. Offline mostly, but I hope to blog from the Wellfleet public library when I can, assuming there is such a thing.

From festival to family, from field to sand, with but the tiniest of hiatus: It's all so just like last summer, really. Except with a home to come home to, this time around. And that makes all the difference.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:05 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Brown From The Sun 

Neck, arms, face and fingers: two weeks of outdoor living and my skin is as crisp and healthy looking as it's ever been. As long as I stick to long pants and keep my shirt on, I could pass for a sunbather, and I like it. Just in time for my brother's oceanside wedding next weekend, too.

I don't have the darkest skin, though my plight is nothing like that of my wife and children, who are doomed to walk the face of the earth along the treelines, perhaps under parasols, lest their flesh sear and glow. I burn, but it doesn't bother me much any more, and the red fades to a nice brown for a couple of days before my arms turn into leprous scaly things from a zombie movie.

Right now, though, I'm in that golden moment, and the face that peers out of the mirror seems more relaxed, more at one with nature, more aglow with life and weather than the usual haggard workself.

I've been thinking I should document this tan somehow, but the camera flash bleaches out what in direct sunlight was a lovely golden brown from t-shirtline to fingertips, broken and set off by a starkly contrasted strip of pastiness where my watch has been. You'll just have to take my word for it: I'm no George Hamilton, but as long as I keep the pale parts covered, I sure do look beachworthy.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:26 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And The World Spins Madly On 

Waking with the kids by my side, and clutching them to sleep at night with songs and tummyrubs. A free matinee and a clean bill of follow-up health. Plans to come: a weekend picnic in Connecticut with the inlaws; two weeks on the Cape among my own for my brother's marriage; a side trip to the Vineyard in the middle of it all.

Howdykids, frolickingHow good to watch the girls run through the sprinkler on a freshly mowed lawn, naked and shrieking with glee in the late afternoon sun.

How good to be home, though the place is a mess, and the spectre of work looms faint but ominous on the horizon.

How good to have another month, another chance, another path to follow.

How sweet it is, really.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:12 PM | 2 comments

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sounds Like Everyone Else Had A Good Time, Too 

Then at about 4:00 in the morning we had to evacuate the tent because a van with fireworks and a propane tank was burning up. We went to Dillon's car and spent the rest of the night there, and I watched the van explode in his rear view mirror...

A search for "Falcon Ridge" over at blogtracker Technorati offers a fascinating look at the diversity of experience had by festivalgoers this year.

My own fire story, incidentally, involves being woken up at 4:00 so I could spend the next three hours rounding up diapers for camp refugee families. Thanks to Brink for the quote above!

For the rest of my own somewhat community-centric impression of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2006, just keep reading...

posted by boyhowdy | 10:19 PM | 1 comments

It's Been One Week Since You Looked At Me... 

...but over a week without blogging (or, indeed, any communications technology more wideranging than a walkie talkie) has left me a bit befuddled over where and how to begin.

Also, I've changed, I think.

In the absence of the literate urge, and perhaps to better capture the true chaotic mess that is memory after eight days of tentcommunity and fieldlife, Not All Who Wander Are Lost WAS going to be proud to present a sort of quotes-and-moments compendium from this year's Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

And sure, somewhere in my head will always live a list and litany of days: of swimming holes and trips into civilization for forgotten suplies; of Dave and his constant stream of young and sadly heterosexual visitors, Eileen and her Long Island brothers, of nights under the shade tent while the festival built around us.

But in my mind, the true story of this year's Falcon Ridge Festival will be that this was the year I stopped being a mere visitor-participant, and became truly subsumed, at one with the community, an organ of the festival (a small organ -- a pancreas, perhaps -- but a vital components of the organism nonetheless).

You see, when I woke up on Thursday, groggy in the morning sun, watched children while Darcie painted signs, and finally, after lunch, wobbled over to my shift checking in volunteers and press and performers, I was just another volunteer, one of a thousand working his shift with cheer and as much compentence as possible.

But then I was pulled behind a car for a conference with the Volunteer Coordinator, and the weekend turned into a series of starburst moments, a whirlwind of timing and grace:

Being asked to step up as new Crew Chief for Teen Crew -- on Thursday afternoon, just twenty hours before the crew meeting.

Transforming Teen Crew on-the-spot from a loose posse of teens who spent 90% of their time hanging out at maingate into a truly well-regarded team of curious and hardworking adolescents who spend their time making a real difference while, simultaneously, making the kinds of connections and gathering all the experience needed to become the next generation of volunteer movers and shakers.

Enjoying the new privledges accorded Crew Chiefs, such as backstage access, and a total lack of time to take advantage of it.

Realizing that, as Crew Chief, I don't just get to have my finger on the pulse of the festival at all times, but that I now get to be a part of the committee which meets throughout the year to confer, strategize, improve -- and party.

Realizing, too, that this Crew Chief management group is made up of a group of friends and dedicated like-minded folks, people that I respect more than almost anyone else. And that they treat me like an equal, and are generally glad to have me among their ranks.

And driving home in a fog after a luxurious night of play and chat and song and stars, and a day of mellow sun and take-down with old friends and campmates, and suddenly realizing that joining in Crew Chief management means I no longer have to wait until next summer to be a part of Falcon Ridge. That from now on, Falcon Ridge will always be there, a part of my real world, too.

Being charged with such responsibility and knowing that you're the best man for the job -- because you proved it this weekend, didn't you, and under fire -- oh, it's indescribable.

It is an amazing, powerful, awesome thing, this sudden epiphany that you can do this, and well, and in public, and grin happily all the while, and mean it.

But being given Falcon Ridge forever, all year long?

That, perhaps, is the happiest thing of all.

Oh, yeah. There was also some music. It rocked. For those who care, the total count as of Sunday night's closing song:

Grey Fox:
Infamous Stringdusters
Uncle Earl
Danny Barnes
Hot Buttered Rum
Tim & Mollie O'Brien
Austin Lounge Lizards

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival:
Liz Carlisle
Russel Wolfe
Wild Asparagus
David Buskin
John Gorka
Cheryl Wheeler
Christine Lavin
Susan Werner
Shawn Colvin
Crooked Still
David Massengill
Tracy Grammer
Rowan & Rice Quartet
Eliza Gilkyson
Eddie From Ohio
Dan Bern
Greg Greenway
The Rowan Brothers
Lowen & Navarro
Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

posted by boyhowdy | 3:04 PM | 1 comments

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 | 1 comments

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

And We're Off! 

Hello, you've reached Not All Who Wander Are Lost. We can't come to the blog right now...because there's no internet in this big open field.

We're folking out at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (with an early sidetrip here).

Plans include much music, serious relaxation, beer and grub, and the usual chaos that comes of living in an open field with two kids, old friends, and thousands of folkies. See below entries for details.

Other than a quick stopover at home on the 16th, I'll be on a blog hiatus until July 24. Falcon Ridge, here we come!

posted by boyhowdy | 1:00 PM | 2 comments

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Strange (Fasci)Nation 

Been checking out folk musician websites overnight, trying to make some preliminary don't-miss wishlists as we move ever closer to our annual pilgrimage to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

So far, previously-unknown Jason Spooner and festival (and personal) fave Susan Werner seem to be standing out from the crowd. Here's a track each from their websites; I especially recommend Werner's wryly liberal yet truly majestic ode to this good old country, sure to be a festival fave.

Susan Werner Mp3: My Strange Nation
Jason Spooner Mp3: Big Black Hole

We don't go for the music, of course -- we're true folk communityheads in the howdy clan -- but the workshop stage tends to bring together otherwise-unheard of performer combos. Past years have brought everything from a Moxy Fruvous and Eddie From Ohio lovefest to some of the most amazing impromptu triple banjo sessions ever imagined. Planning ahead makes it possible to make my volunteer schedule quickly, if nothing else. Plus, it's nice to know what the soundtrack might be.

Of course perennial festfaves EFO, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson and Shawn Colvin and many other wonderful singer-songwriters will draw me and others to the mainstage, and I'm very much looking forward to a few kidtent sets with the girls: The Nields, and an out-of-retirement David Massengil especially.

The weekend's schedule isn't up yet, but if you want to take a gander at the list of performers, check it out. Maybe we'll see you there.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:48 PM | 1 comments

Fish Story 

Father's day the kids woke me up with a telescoping flyrod; yesterday, we gave elderchild Willow her birthday present early so she'd have her own pole, and the two of us headed out through the woods, just three houses down an overgrown path, to a greenspot where the stream hits the dam backwash.

And so we learned to cast, that shade moves with the sun, how a barbed hook works, and why. We ate crackers, shared an apple, and two tiny fish later -- the world's smallest largemouth and a four-inch sunfish, if you're keeping score -- we decided to call it a morning.

A nice afternoon on a shady summer riverbank, teaching patience, enjoying the day. So what if Willow's most memorable moment involved the dubious phrase Daddy, fishing is really boring, isn't it? According to my list of father-daughter goals, we're right on schedule.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:58 PM | 3 comments
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