Friday, June 26, 2009

Solstice weekend, Part The Second

And there's even pics to go with this part!

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, but that's just a guess, as I was still asleep. Not for long, granted, but I did stay in bed till almost 9:00. The sunburn wasn't going to let me sleep, anyway. Got myself together, gassed up the SUV, then went to pick Tom up. Kennard and Kristen were letting us borrow the utility trailer, so that was our next stop, after a pass through McDonald's drive-thru to snag some breakfast. Kennard wanted to make sure the trailer axles were properly greased, so did that while we waited. He popped one of the caps off while filling it, and eventually got it back on. We hitched up, and off to Eldorado we went. Tom was having fun with the GPS on his phone, but I had directions anyway, so there! Got to our destination, and there it was....a Yamaha XS400, and it's all ours. It needs a shit-tonne of work, but we knew that, and that's why it was so cheap. The bike was in the bed of a pickup, so it was easy to move it down onto the trailer. We tied it down, chatted for a while, then headed back. A stop at the grocery store to get drinks and adjust the tiedowns again after the bumpy gravel road, and off again.
Then, just outside Santa Fe on Hwy 14 (not taking a laden trailer on the freeway, thank you), I started smelling something. I pulled over, and remember that grease cap that popped off that morning? We'd lost it again, and who knows when or where. Tom got on the phone, I got on my phone, and we got hold of an RV place to see if they had a cap. Get this – the place wasn't open, but the owner was on site and opened up just to help us out. How cool is that? So if you ever need RV repair in Santa Fe, go to Hal Burns' RV and talk to David Burns. He didn't have a cap that fit quite right (dang Harbor Freight Chinese metric trailer...), but we found one that was close and duct taped it on to make it home with. He didn't even want to charge us for it, but I gave him some money for his trouble. Back on the road at last, and I'm regretting the addition to my sunburn already. We were going to stop for a burger at Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid, but it was packed, and I didn't feel like fighting the trailer into a space. Taking the back way down was really nice, though. We finally made it back to my house, offloaded the bike and took the trailer back. Kennard was cool about the hubcap, thank goodness. If Tom and I keep using the trailer, we may see about helping rebuild it with new wood.
Time for some dinner, and we hit the buffet at Furr's. Hey, it's the cheapest way to feed a very hungry Tom. It wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but I attribute that to it being crowded for Father's Day. Dropped Tom off at his place, and then home at last.
My sunburn was really nasty by then, even with trying to keep sunscreen on it, so I just took one of my pain pills leftover from my MRSA infection a couple of weeks ago and tried to get to sleep.'s a link to pics of the bike as it is. Trust me, it will look much better in a few months!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Solstice weekend, Part The First

Yes, I think it may take two posts to blog such a busy weekend.
Saturday actually started Friday night; maybe that's why it felt so long, even with it being the 'longest day'. I got off work as usual, then went and picked up a rider to head out to the Long Dance site. We arrived at about 11 p.m., and I pretty much said hi to a few people, picked out a tree to roll under, and laid out my sleeping bag to try and get some rest. Sunrise comes pretty darned early, you know! Well, the guys in the next camp over were setting up and talking for quite a while, but I managed to doze off a bit. Just about the time I was going to fall asleep for real, the rain started. No, I hadn't taken my tent. And yes, the truck was still full of stuff. So, I dragged myself about 20 feet over, and curled up under the shade tarps that were hung by the main circle. It's funny how, after all these years, my tenting instincts still kick in and I listen for pockets in the roof...and get up and poke the tarp up to drain, and lie back down, get the picture. At least I had enough wits about me to pick the sleeping spot that was not in danger of pocketing!
Just as the birds were singing their wake-up song to the trees, two folks came down from the house, with chimes, and gently woke up the camp. Assembling at the house (praise the gods for coffee), we set off with the center pole to greet the sun at the eastern hill of the property. Clouds notwithstanding, it was officially declared to be sunrise. We then proceeded to the main circle for opening ritual and the raising of the pole. It was a very cool telling/acting of the legend of how the People came up from the dark first world to this, the sunlit fifth world. The long thin pole that we would dance around is that center of the world where Locust's magic staff poked through the roof of the world below this one and let the People come forth.
The drums commenced. Matti starts, by tradition, on the big drum, which is about 3 feet across, and double headed with rawhide. He got a good beat going, and others of us joined in. I was even able to play my bodhran for a while, till the rhythm shifted to a easier beat for the hand drummers to follow. Breakfast started magically appearing at the table outside the circle, and Matti had me take over the big drum for a while. I felt really honored that he chose me first. So, we switched over, one mallet at a time so the beat would be continuous. I think I must have drummed for nearly an hour or so, that first session, and it really felt good. I passed the mallets to the next person who stepped up to take a turn, and got my breakfast.
Somewhere in the morning, the rain came back again. I was already out dancing, and Alan and I were making sure that there was always someone doing that, too. He dug little trenches with his feet to try and direct the water away from the circle, and it did help. My feet were soon covered in mud, but the ground underneath was hard, and it got a bit slippery. The sun returned again, and dried everything out. It settled down to being a mostly sunny day, which was nice.
I did have a bout of negativity come after me in the midst of things, so I took myself out of circle to try and get myself back together. A bit of food and water, a sitdown and a reality check, and I was soon working my way back to where I needed to be. Thank the gods for good friends. I went back to drumming for a while, and Matti made me a bagel sandwich to eat which was very good. More dancing, more drumming, and singing! We got some chants and songs going which was pretty cool. Io was there, and she even complimented my singing. Praise from a master, indeed.
Throughout the day, we took individual breaks, but the music and movement never stopped. Dawn had her big hula hoops with her, which was cool. I even managed to do it! I haven't worked a hula hoop successfully in years! I think I might have to make one now, it's good exercise and good movement.
At a certain point in the afternoon, we had another ritual, this one to call the benificent rains (tomorrow, please). It was really cool, with water hoses making a mist to cool people off and get them dancing again at the end of it.
I was starting to lag a bit, so sat and sang some more, drummed some more, and danced when it was needed. I need more sunscreen, it's not helping... I also did make sure I got a chance to climb the 'woodpecker tree' and tap on the woodblock hanging there. There was a ladder attached to the tree, but it's still quite a climb. Good view, though, and I'm glad I went up.
Sunset was going to officially be at 8:00, but who's counting? Poor Matti almost missed the end, as he had to go talk to a tree. He came hurrying back, because he heard us pick up the beat, and I was hitting the big drum pretty solidly. He did make it, though, and it wouldn't have been right for him to not be there at the end as he was at the start. We all got up and went to stand in circle, and it sprinkled just enough to give us a glorious rainbow! How magical, and what a lovely blessing for the day!
Hugs all around after the last circle, and believe me, nobody wanted it to end. Matti hugged me and thanked me for the great work on the drum and singing. I complimented him in return, of course. The circle and tarps were soon cleaned up, and those of us who weren't staying another night packed up our gear. A lovely potluck up at the house, and a chance to ground and wind down among friends.
More hugs, and finally I had to leave so I could get some rest before Sunday's adventures. I got home and realized just how tired and sore and sunburnt I was, so went to bed in pretty short order.

(to be continued)