I’ve been home from my summer in the Michigan woods for 4 whole days now- just long enough to dig the dirt from under my nails, settle back in with the assorted critters, and work like a banshee (appropriately enough: a faery woman who moves fast and cries a lot) to get set up for the new job, which started yesterday. It’s been a busy and exhausted four days, and I’m still a little feral- perplexed by flush toilets, memory foam, and wifi. I keep thinking I just need to go back to my tent and lie down for a little while.
So I haven’t had much time yet, to settle into ‘the new normal’, here at the end of the event that has fundamentally shaped my life for the last 20 years. I suspect the impact of the closing of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival won’t be entirely clear, to me or the thousands of women who have called her home, until a significant chunk of time has passed. But I am deep in the transition to ordinary life. Women who work at festival often share a common experience of what we call reentry- adjusting to life without tents, without communal showers, without hundreds of friends to share meals, work, triumphs, heartbreak, and this year particularly, so much love and tears. It’s always a bumpy ride post-fest, but this August, without the beacon of next year’s gathering glimmering off in the distance, it feels positively surreal. I am an emotional hedgehog: all prickles, rolled in a ball.
I often hunker down for a few days, lay in supplies, and try to stay in bed (with Netflix) until the worst of it is over- like a bout of the emotional flu- you’ve just got to get through to the other side. And of course, I’ve been ill, which makes that even more appealing. But I don’t have time for that luxury this year (see again, new job)…and so I am trying to just keep my heart open and wade through it.
It’s the cost of admission, and it’s worth it- but it is very hard.
I wish I could show you all, or at least find eloquent words to explain how your life changes when you start every day with a dozen hugs- when women have your back to share every joy and sorrow, when you are told DAILY, in so many ways, that you are beautiful, just as you are. Even when it was too much (and it often was…) it was such a gift. And I am madly strategizing ways to keep the amazing connections I’ve built over the years strong, even without the ease and beauty of our annual gathering. I suspect there will be a lot of travel, smaller gatherings poking up like mushrooms after a rain. Here at home, this year’s Pig and Pie is gonna be quite a party. But that’s for the future. I am comforted always by a plan, but need to stay present now as well.
In this moment, all I can think about is that it’s over, and I am so very sad. But I am remembering to breath, and to see the beauty that was waiting here for me at home. The crape myrtles are in bloom, our wandering bees appear to have moved from one hive to the other one (?) and the garden is lush with (mostly weedy) life. There are tomatoes to put up (post following soon for Lazy Tomato Sauce), bread to bake, students to teach and counsel and point firmly in the direction of the syllabus, dogs to pet and love. In a few weeks, my sweetheart will be home, and we will wrap our beautiful lives around us here, and plant some of the seeds we’ve been given.
More farmlet content soon, I promise.
Until next time,