Throwing Starfish Into the Seas – East Coast Gathering (Travel) Day One

My Backyard Stone CircleCurrently, I have made my way to Philadelphia and am sitting in the lobby of the hotel I stayed in. Yesterday, my travel day here wound up being an extremely crazy day. I live north of the Dallas/Fort Worth metromess – and I rarely drive south into the Dallas area unless I have to. To get to the airport, I have to. Any accident on the freeway can result in massive gridlock…and that is precisely what happened on the way. One hour in traffic to move less than a half-mile. What had been planned as a short trip to arrive at the airport with an hour to spare, wound up with a missed flight, twenty minutes on-hold with Southwest Airlines to switch flights, double the fare cost for my original round-trip, and nearly twice as much time spent in the air as the trip was diverted to Denver with a connecting flight to Philadelphia.

It was the second leg of the trip – from Denver to Philadelphia that wound up being interesting. Southwest Airlines has a “sit wherever you want” option for everyone coming on-board.  Which means if you are last in – you sit wherever there’s an empty seat. I was next-to-last onto the plane. Luckily, a couple saw that I was looking for a seat, and offered to move over and let me have the window seat. I had brought my iPad with me, so I settled in for watching the movies I had brought with me, as well as reading one of the books on the history of the Comanches that I had brought with me. Once I had filled enough of my brain with written word, I decided to watch an OBOD related video I had found on YouTube a few months ago called “Fable“. Its a video about the lost art of story-telling, and there’s quite a few scenes with Philip Carr-Gomm within it.

Apparently, the lady seated next to me had been watching pieces of my video and had recognized PC-G in some of the scenes. She asked if that had indeed been PC-G and whether I was a Druid. My response was that I was in my Bardic Grade studies, but that I was indeed a member of the Order. She noted that she and her husband were Wiccans, and we continued talking about Paganism and the differences between Dallas and New Jersey (where they are from). As we began departing the plane, she noted that she had recognized my voice, and I told her who I was. We laughed as she got a picture with me, that she had been sitting there talking with a podcaster she had been listening to for years, and it took the last 30+ minutes of the flight to recognize me.

I am a bit uncomfortable when people recognize me from either the podcast or the blog. However, when I do meet these people they constantly gush about how much listening to the podcasts has helped them with some of the times when they were questioning what to do on their Path. As I got off the plane, and made my way to the baggage claim to see if my bags had actually made the flight with me – I was reminded of a story that was within the video “Fable”.

In the story, an old man walks down to the beach to see a little girl throwing starfish that were stranded on the beach, back into the ocean. There are hundreds of starfish strewn along the beach. He asks the little girl why she was throwing starfish into the ocean. “To save them” she responded. “But look at all the starfish” he retored, “What difference do you think you can make for all these starfish? You will never be able to throw all of them back.” The little girl reaches down and picks up a starfish and shows it to the man. “I can’t make a difference for all of them – but I definitely can make a difference for this one.” And with that, she throws the starfish into the ocean, and continues her methodical process.

I may be uncomfortable with being “recognized” and people treating me like a bit of a “celebrity” — but the podcast and the people I bring into the shows via interviews and the such — that’s what really makes the difference. I’m just the little girl on the beach throwing starfish back into the sea. And in making that difference for the people who listen, I can definitely live with being uncomfortable when I meet these people in real-life.

After the plane flight, we made our way to Hertz rental car and got a red VW Beetle. Then we made our way through the very congestive highways of Philadelphia to the hotel. The next leg of the trip is about to take place — heading into Camp and meeting all the people. And while I am somewhat overwhelmed with the prospective of meeting Damh the Bard, Ceri, and Kristopher Hughes — among many others — I just have to remember, they all are like the little girl on the beach. They too make differences in peoples’ lives. They too have stories to tell others – in their own way. We each make a difference to some number of starfish. Even when we don’t realize it…

In the words of Mickey Hart:  Remember be kind to one another.”

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