Thursday, August 20, 2009


It was that time of the year again and the girl decided she'd go back to a place she previously found love and peace and understanding, but this year she would go alone. Well, not entirely alone since she would be meeting friends there, but it would be the first time she'd pack up camping equipment, trek into the Land, and pitch a tent alone. She worried how she would find her friends, if she would be lonely. She thought about taking her boy baby, but decided it would be wrong to use him like a teddy bear. She was an adult and didn't need her boy to sleep with her in the bed.

When she left the house, a full moon sat above her head. She was always drawn to the moon and it seemed like it was leading her where she needed to go. The path wavered, but when she made it to the Land, the sun was high over her head. Women called out to her, "Welcome home!" She could smell the grass. Crickets were everywhere. (Cricket!) On the dirt road she had to pass a car that held two women, kissing each other passionately just before the gates, a safe place for them. For her too. But the kissing women made her longing intensify and she thought about turning around. She got out her ticket instead, had the red tie circle her wrist, worried it was too tight.

The shuttle bounced her deep into the Festival, the familiar landscape looked different alone, from the view of an old bus. Usually she hauled all the equipment across woodchipped paths, huffing and puffing with a partner by her side. This time she sat silently, thought about how different, how easy this seemed. The bus let her out, someone took her gear down and placed it next to her. She looked down, lost, and then next time she looked up it was into the eyes of a friend. She wasn't alone. The friend helped her put up the tent, locate other friends, meet new ones. The girl took her first deep breath and felt it stick.

Later that night the first tears came. Usually she camped in the deep woods where she didn't hear much of anything at all, but this time she was in the thick of things. Women sang karoke, from another direction the primal sound of a drum circle, and yet another an open mike and someone belting out Purple Rain. It was all beautiful until there was torch song about someone not being able to make someone else love them, and the then tears, the snotty grovelly tears into an air mattress and the hope that no one could hear her. She turned off her battery powered lantern so she could cry into the dark the night. And then she stopped, turned the light back on. Read her book, fell asleep.

She cried a few more times, under a huge oak tree, the rain falling around her, listening to love songs sang for other women, children running all around her with glow sticks. She watched her feet walk down the path alone. She looked up at drawing clouds and lightening and got into the tent alone, trying to be strong as the rain the came down hard. She laughed loudly with friends, nursed some women's wounds, held her friends closely to her. She was alone. She was connected. She made new friends.

The girl walked through the rain at the Festival, walked through the humidity, danced to a drum orchestra where the leader told the fierce women around her to "work it all out through the dance." She pounded her feet on the ground, raised her arms to the sky. She closed her eyes and felt the tears dance back, and then opened them quickly. She didn't want to cry just then. Later another friend lead her up to the water, to anoint her fears and help to heal her. She knew she'd be back next year.
She will go back there again: Maybe alone again, maybe not. She might take her boy or she might leave him with his other mom. She will know though that land will always be a haven, a place where she will be taken for what she is and the women there will celebrate her flaws and beauties as a part of the whole. These women who know without flaws, there is no beauty.

See you next year....


Blogger Nic said...

It sounds like it was just what you needed. Splitting up with a long term partner is such a hard thing to go through. Thinking of you.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the girl has become a woman. Welcome.

3:42 PM  
Blogger agoodlistener said...

You've always been so generous with your feelings here. Thank you.

9:49 PM  
OpenID savedbythebrew said...

Wow, I've missed your writing. After all these years away I stumble here and wow....that's all I can say. Well, wow and look at your beautiful boy!! Write more.

3:10 PM  

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