Two Days Until Men’s Festival


Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame,
Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned,
But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die,
You’ve gotta get up and try try try,
Gotta get up and try try try,
Gotta get up and try try try.

And I finally have a day off. I slept like twelve hours if you count the naps and the fallings asleep on the couch last night.

Yesterday was a rough one including finding out that I do in fact have to work tomorrow. She even had her “dog”—the Evil Team Leader—tell me, instead of having the class to inform me herself. This means my husband and I don’t have a single day *together* before Men’s Festival to get ready. A friend said something to me about “after all these years surely you have it down and can pack fast.” Girl! I am a queen! It takes me forever to pack! Some will be by rote but a lot of it is unique for that year…!

And I am way too heavy for any of my costumes so I won’t have anything for the dress up dinner….

But that is okay. Venting done. Negativity *done.* I will not let the selfishness and petty meanness and playing favorites of my bosses affect me.

I am going to get my teeth cleaned today and have time at my favorite coffee shop and try and finish the edits for my novel so I can go to MMF with nothing but relaxing to do.

And it is going to be wonderful. Mornings waking to the sound of birdsong, Evenings ending in conversation with dear friends. Circles drinking cocktails and sharing into the wee hours of the morning. Or around a fire telling stories and singing and drumming. Or swimming under the light of a full and near full moon. The “magickal” circle of the first night where we will celebrate our coming together under the first night of the full moon. The “official” circles where all gather twice a day and discuss everything from business to just plain old sharing.

And there will be all the surprises. Because no Men’s Festival is the same as the last. They are all totally unique even in the routines we have. And our routines are the huge shopping trip on the morning before we officially take over Camp Gaea. I have gone for years. First time was disconcertingly hilarious. I was given a “magic” brownie before we left and was naïve enough—like my character Scott in Sumer Lover—to not have realized it had a special extra ingredient and by the time we got to the first grocery store I was *so* fripping stoned I couldn’t figure out which paper towels to buy and stood there ten minutes trying to do the math. I should have known what I was being handed but I am a fiend for brownies and didn’t even ask. The fault is not theirs. And I know better now! LOL!

But it is with the circles and the classes and the conversation and the Know Talent Show and dances and sometimes movies shown on a big sheet and so very much more where the differences come in. And the weather. That affects things. It can be so very very very hot and yet one year we were wearing blankets the night of the big show because it was terribly cold. In late July!

It honestly makes it wonderful as we hold with open hands what we are given.

New men show up. Some never come back. We have lost members and added them to our ancestry. I will miss with all my heart JB and my guru Dee Dee. Sometimes someone shows up who hasn’t been there for years or even decades. One of those has become a blessing in my life. Healings occur. And massages. On a raft. Floating on the lake. Wonderful.

Souls are bared. Friendships forged. Old friendships deepened. Skirmishes avoided. Angers blown away on the breeze.

One of my closest friendships happened because we were both on Gate Duty on morning and that meant four hours together and we bonded so deeply that we have been good friends ever since. Good friends. Very good friends. He is in Summer Lover! He got scared by a musk rat. It’s in the book.

Oh Men’s Festival is so magick. And those people at work? Wow. They will never in their deepest imagination ever conceive of what happens at MMF. They will never know such selflessness, such friendships, such kindnesses, such love. So rather than dwell in anger, I will simple know that they are simply to be pitied, and then thought of no more.

And they will be the inspiration of much in my future books. Although not, I think, the way they might wish.

“You own everything that happens to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~~ Anne Lamott

Actually, I should say that Men’s Festival doesn’t really begin until Tuesday at noon. But the magick begins before as we begin to filter onto the land beforehand. It lets us watch MMF bloom and allows us time to share that we might never have time for once the Festival begins. I treasure this time. It is very special.

But also, like Christmas, all of this deep brotherhood allows us to carry Men’s Festival with us all year. I treasure that as well.

So I go through this day as a gift and I embrace it and love it and hold it with open hands. This day will never be repeated. I will see what it has to offer. And I will not worry about packing and the novel or anything else. Because I am….

“…a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

And so it is,
Gentle Ben

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