The motel that I wound up staying at – The Red Carpet Inn – is only six miles from camp in the town of Milford. Not a spectacular place, but the beds are certainly a far cry better than the small, hard bunks we were sleeping in. We started into camp to make Gail Nyoka’s session “Communication in Ritual”. Her session was quite informative, and a lot of fun. She will be the featured guest at the 2nd annual Gulf Coast Gathering next year, and I am looking forward to her storytelling sessions there.
Shortly after that, I managed to corner Bran for an interview for the podcast about his album, and all his demos and singles he has available for download as well. He is not only a great musician, but he and his wife Susan are two of the coolest people I have ever met. Very down-to-earth, extremely friendly people who enjoy discussions, and sharing the gift of laughter. What a wonderful pair they are… Look for Bran’s interview on the upcoming episode of Upon a Pagan Path.
Breakout sessions for each grade, allowed me to meet several very interesting, and nice folks from all along the Eastern states. Some folks whom I had along talked with via Facebook (Tom!!! I mean Santa Claus!!!), and this faded into lunch. And thanks to Malbren, I was introduced to the other podcaster at this event – some giant of a guy named Damh. It was a pure joy to get a hug from Damh…who is one of the easiest individuals I have ever had the chance to talk for a few moments with. As I had noted before, I was really trying not to be intrusive to him – but thanks to Malbren, she brought him over to meet me. It was seriously an awesome moment for me. And yes, I did fan-boy a slight bit on him.
After lunch, we all prepared for our roles within the Alban Elfed ritual was completely exquisite. We Bards did a piece on being irreverent. Not sure how that really played out – though a few people complimented several of us shortly after our gift had been presented. It was still a lot of fun presenting this gift to the entire circle. And we had a lot of fun composing it and putting it together.
While its not terribly hot (81F) there is the additional aspect of the humidity to consider. Which essentially wilted both Pam and I – and we headed back to the motel to rest and cool off. Then we headed back for the bonfire. Once again, I held back from the bonfire, and sat in the dark of the pavilion watching and listening to the sounds of the entire camp being alive, in conjunction with the sounds of the animals as well. That particular moment, just shortly before the bonfire had been lit – was magnificent. A pure moment of Awen being placed with my lap.
Here in the Darkness
In the darkness I sit
And hear the cicadas’ call
Mingled with the laughter
The conversations in every direction
The sounds of the camp coming to life
Then, the sounds of drumming
Up by the bonfire
On the rise of the hill
The rhythmic clapping keeping time
The whooping and yelling of the ecstatic energy
Down the hill at the smaller fire
The sounds of the children and adults
Gathered around their smaller blaze
Ready to roast marshmellows
And singing a song of Yule-time
And in the darkness, I sit
Quietly drinking all this in
These are my people, this is my tribe
Their joy and wonder fills their energy
Wrapped around the camp like a blanket
And as I take my leave
Queitly in the dark of the late night
Huge hugs as I make my way to the car
I know that the departing is only for now
For we shall all meet again and again