Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some Great Thing (Vance Gilbert)

First and foremost… I {heart} galoshes – but I digress… :-)

To paraphrase, even a bad day at Falcon Ridge is better than a good day anywhere else – it was most certainly a long weekend of extreme pendulum swings… and we managed to weather (pun absolutely intended) it with grace and style.

Getting to the airport 90 minutes before my flight Tuesday morning, I found it to be cancelled – they managed to get me on another plane, routing through Atlanta (with a long layover), arriving 5 hours later than my intended 2:30 p.m. ETA. No worries – my dear friend Stephen/Mosh was there to pick me up and sweep me away to the amazing seafood restaurant we went to last year (do it twice and it’s a tradition), where I had lobster bisque, mussels and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Wednesday morning found us segueing from Joan and Ed’s Deli for lunch to Newberry Comics in search of cinnamon Penguins (out of stock), then on to Target and Trader Joe’s for last-minute trip supplies, including bungee cords (for my exploding-out-of-the-box tent), crunchy green beans, sparkling sake and green tea mints. Continued downpours slowed our journey, and we arrived in Hillsdale about 5:30 p.m., where we saw Amy Putnam and the amazing Chris Chin (who had already staked out Camp Dar… a.k.a. Peace Branch Horse and Bible Camp) – the roads were too muddy to drive up, so we carried our camping gear up the hill and a small break in the rain allowed us to set up.

After much discussion, it was decided we couldn’t *not* do Dinner at the Diner, despite our fewer numbers (Chris, Jen T., Joanne, Candy, Stephen and I) and the lateness of the hour – so glad we did, as the owner and “our” waitress were delighted to see us (yes to tomatoes this year). Back to Falcon Ridge and more rain – it was at this point I unpacked and donned my (inspired by Meg and Kate last year)
Target galoshes.

We decided to pack a small overnight bag and trudge back up to camp - considering the mud was ankle deep, the rainboots easily transformed from fashion statement to function. “I {heart} galoshes”, I squealed, to which Stephen responded, “when did heart become a verb?”, stating that both the New York Times and Boston Globe had validated - someone walking by overheard us and was distressed, because the media had usurped their Internet speak (gotta love grammar geeks!). Lovely to have a short song circle, with Sharon Girlock and Jessie (and Jim, Reinhard and Cami) joining us at this point – lots of lightninging (sic) and more rain (imagine that).

Since I gave up coffee (I should have warned you to sit down!) over a month ago, Stephen suggested I begin Thursday morning by apologizing in advance to my favorite vendor for single-handedly putting him out of business – however, when I saw he carried yerba mate (my new favorite caffeine substitute), I knew all would be right with the world (especially since my galoshes made an encore appearance this day as well). Since my favorite food vendor wasn’t yet open, I opted for a Benevolent Burrito (I can change and adapt). Nice to see Gene and Isabel and their friend Jim… and Sheila, Bob and their beautiful babies – there was another Camp Dar song circle, with sparkling sake passed around (and much lower temps!). I hear Sally and Laura and Gail and Jen have arrived but don’t see them until the following morning – Camp Dar grows larger and more familiar…

The Artist Showcase officially kicked off Friday, and it was wonderful to see Danny Schmidt receive such a warm response (finally saw sharong later that afternoon and we did our usual mile-a-minute catch-up) – I lived life on the edge and got a combined Colorado/Wildcat Wrap. Loved the Beatles workshop (Blackbird on Lindsay Mac’s cello) - very cool to see ASL interpreter Jodi wearing a cape Maura Kennedy had put on her during the Strangelings set – the John/Eliza/Patty/Vance songswap was great. Stephen and I wandered up to the BudgieDome later to hear the newest SuperGroup (Anthony DaCosta, Abbie Gardner, Amy Speace… backed by Rad Lorcavic and Eric Lee) - Anthony: “more Rad in the monitor, please”… :-)

Saturday’s Love and Other Tragedies workshop stage sported a marriage proposal (down on one knee), aided and abetted by Katryna and Nerissa – it paved the way for more weeping during Janis Ian’s Society’s Child workshop, as she spoke of her mother’s declining health (a situation I can relate to all too easily these days). As I met Janis to get my book signed, she saw my Peace Love Anarchy hat and declared she and Todd Snider were e-mail buddies – knock me over with the proverbial feather. Wonderful to stumble across We’re About 9’s (duo) set on Vendor Row – I jumped out at Dan Pelletier for a change (rather than our standard M.O. of the other way around).

Hooray for Graham, Becky and Molly making it – ah, history. How could Dar top last year’s Iowa? – by bringing even *more* children onto the mainstage to witness the dark transformed by lights. Loved being able to hear three of the new songs – nice surprise to see Jake Armerding (Julie: “he’s dreamy”) performing with Eddie From Ohio. Martin Sexton was an entertaining powerhouse – our planned Camp Dar song circle was derailed by more rain, as we all got inside our tents just in time for a Haunting of Hill House breathing walls and electrical light storm experience.

Sunday morning was the Dave Carter Song Circle (hard to believe it’s been 6 years) and the Gospel Wake-Up Call – we went back to camp to break down and had everything packed in Sharon and Jessie’s van (except my tent) before the rain started (not again!). Over to mainstage to hear Tracy’s set (finally got to see Tina) as the rain comes down harder – they stop the music halfway through and we attempt to wait it out. The rain, coming down harder still, turns to hail and we are unceasingly and quite painfully pelted (ouch!) – festival staff finally makes us leave the hill and we retreat to Stephen’s car, learning later that the festival is declared over. We rescue my bent, bowed yet still-standing tent… and I realize I am officially ginger-ice-cream-less and Popeye-quesadilla-less – so sad…

We get to Four Brothers Pizza quite a few hours before our usual post-fest time frame – you’d think I’d learn to expect the birthday pie by now.. but I am always pleasantly surprised. We call Megan from the parking lot and tell her we missed her – goodbyes all around as we head our separate ways. We arrive at Stephen’s to find The Wizard of Oz on his HDTV – I marvel at the clarity of color… and fall asleep to “you’ve always had the power”.

Monday was my baby Eric’s birthday (20!) and we set up my tent in Stephen’s yard to dry out while we make another Trader Joe’s run and hit Fireflies barbeque (another tradition) for lunch - on to the airport for goodbyes and tears and promises of return, oh my!).

I {heart} Chris Chin. I {heart} Stephen. I {heart} ice cream for dinner. I {heart} Funny Money, even if it is soggy. I {heart} the teaser of an almost-played Love Shack on the workshop stage. I {heart} Jack Hardy’s Worst President Ever song. I {heart} my new dragonfly tattoo. Oh… and did I say I {heart} galoshes?... :-)

Related articles here and here...

SONG: Some Great Thing by Vance Gilbert

BOOK: Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill, John Wallner (illustrator)

POEM: may my heart always be open... by e. e. cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

QUOTE: "The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." ~ Henry Miller


  1. glad you're home...what an adventure..lucky you! Hugs, Kate

  2. I heart your FRFF 08 report! Thanks for sharing -- it's amazing (but ultimately unsurprising) to hear how positive folks are after such a wild weekend of nature, community, and song!

    - Boyhowdy

    FRFF Crew Chief: Teen Crew

  3. Hey, Kate ~

    To quote Dar, "it felt like an adventure - isn't that what you would call it?" - oh, yesssss... :-)

    I passed your hugs on to Beth and Tracy - let's plan another get-together soon (I'll call you when we return from our family beach vacation... <3 )

  4. Hey, Boy ~

    Thanks so much for stopping in to comment - I adore Falcon Ridge (this was my 10th!) and joke (but seriously) that it's chiseled in stone on my life calendar. I'll keep doing it until I can do it - can't imagine being anywhere else that fourth weekend of July... :-)

    I checked out your blog and enjoyed your write-up as well (complete with some wonderful links) - would love to add your site to my blogroll... and I look forward to popping in on a regular basis!

  5. Sounds like another fabulous time! I'm so glad, and am equally happy that you're home safe & sound.

    I {heart} Susan.


  6. Hey, M ~

    Home, safe and sound (oh, my!) - my 10th Falcon Ridge was grand, despite the Weather from H*ll... :-)

    Let's schedule a combined birthday get-together when we return from our respective trips - a Leo soiree is much needed (I {heart} you too, my friend... <3 )

  7. Sounds like you have sucked the marrow out of life. Wonderfulwonderfulwonderful.
    I too {heart} galoshes and splashing about in the mud.
    I have a 20-year-old son, too!
    Happy Birthday, Optimistic Lady!

  8. Hey, Kate ~

    Can't imagine living life other than fully - else... what's the point, right?!?

    My kids are Sarah, 26; Rob, 23; Eric, 20 - they are amazing (spoken like a Mom... :-)

    My actual birthday is this coming Tuesday, August 5, whereupon I turn 54 (although I always say I feel 19 until I pass a mirror) - you've got one coming up as well, if I recall correctly... <3

  9. Yes, my birthday is on the horizon. On August 11 I'll turn 43.
    Whoa. That'll mean I outlived Elvis!
    My children are Laurie, 22; Ryan, 20; Elizabeth, almost 17. See how my nest is emptying? I don't know whether to cry or congratulate myself!
    Actually, my oldest is back living at home. She left college her junior year to "find herself." She's working full time at a Border's and part time at a novel, a YA piece titled ONCE UPON A THYME. She's an extraordinarily talented writer. I feel hopeful that she'll procure a literary agent and an eventual sale/publication.
    Happy early birthday, then, Susan. Enjoy your special day. Life is good.

  10. Hey, Kate ~

    A Happy early Birthday to you too - we're aging well... :-)

    A few of my kids have boomeranged, and now one is on her own, one is back for a while and the other is home from college for the summer...

    I have no doubt your daughter is a wonderful writer, if she inherited your talents - the nut doesn't fall far from the tree (and that's a good thing, Martha... :-)

    Keep us posted on the book - count me in to buy a copy when it's available!