This Instant

27 May


I’ve just returned from Roosterwalk Music Festival 5 at Blue Mountain Festival Grounds outside Martinsville, Virginia. Attending this event was a first in many ways, as it was not only my first three-day music festival, but also my first solo camping experience. From mid-day Friday until this morning, I had access to cell service only if I walked the two miles to the highest hill near the festival site. The catalog of experiences which made their way into my tiny journal and cell phone voice recorder as well as the over 577 photographs I took in the last three days are a testament to the beauty of music and its power to bring people together in harmony and in fellowship.

Roosterwalk Festival was begun in memory of Edwin “the Rooster” Penn and Walker Shank who both unfortunately passed away in their 20’s. Friends created this memorial event, celebrating the two young men’s love of music and of the outdoors. Proceeds benefit the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship at Martinsville High School. One of the greatest gifts I received this weekend was the good fortune to camp beside some of Walker Shank’s immediate family who were so kind and gracious to me. The connections I made and all the experiences will take some days to sort and to write about fully, but I wanted to give a preview of some of the things I learned from my first music festival/ camping experience.  Most prominent was the highly unusual weather. All weekend the temperature dropped into the 40’s. Friday night’s low was 36 degrees.  The site had seen a torrential storm on Thursday and so the mud was nearly six inches thick…everywhere.  But the days were in the low 70’s and not a drop of rain in the sky. The full moon made for some incredible pictures and I will be posting them soon. Strangely enough, the music isn’t what moved me so much this weekend. It was the people and the connections made.IMG_8160Saturday night, walking back to my car and it’s tent appendage, I looked up to see a tiny light in the sky right by the checkpoint into the camping area. I asked one of the festival volunteers, a gentleman probably in his sixties. . .

“Oh, what’s that?!” my eyes opening wide.

“It’s a Chinese lantern”, he said. “You light this tiny candle in it and the air heats and it flies.”

“It’s so beautiful” I replied, looking upward.

“Yep, sure is…” he smiled.”There’s a lot a beautiful things to see out here at night…includin’ you.”  He chuckled a bit. “Be careful walking back…you got your light?”

I held up my tiny red Maglite.

“Okay then…be safe young lady.”

People are so amazing…they just are.  There is kindness in the Universe. You don’t really need to even look for it.

Things I learned from Roosterwalk 5:

1. No cell service can be a blessing…the sky is so blue…the moon so bright…Chinese Lanterns float at midnight.
2. Honeysuckle really does smell that good. Virginia is the most beautiful place.
3. Cows…they moo… at sunrise. And moo. And moo. And then. . . moo some more.
4. People are incredibly generous and kind… the high ones are groovy…the drunken ones, not so much sometimes.
5. There are children in adult bodies left in the world…the lost boys still exist. Ragtag clothes and dreadlocks and hula hoops and balloons from Neverland.
6. Peeing in a cup…got it.
7. Stuff doesn’t matter…people do. Listen to stories.
8. Belly dancing to bluegrass?…. who cares. Let it shake and roll!
9. Port-a-pottie and body functions…beer helps.
10. Head lamp…must acquire.
11. Coffee….Instant is still coffee and when the neighbors make it for you rather than walking a half mile for it, it’s better than Starbucks.
12. Earplugs or … how long I can survive without sleep?
13. Mud doesn’t hurt you, everybody smells bad after three days, and by then…you’re family or in love.
14. Those rubber garden clogs that you just threw in the car at the last minute? Priceless.
15. Prepare for weather ranging from snow to jungle heat all in one day…sometimes within the hour.
16. Sleeping while camping alone takes practice…relax.
17. People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and stages of undress…be prepared to see it all bobbling around unabashedly.
18. Hot food is gold.
19. Musicians are just people …stars are in the sky.
20. Keep in mind one principle: “This instant is everything”

It is.

This Instant

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