I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

July 31, 2012 - 12:55 a.m.

This Is My Home

It's time for my Falcon Ridge write up. Some years I write an edition for each day of the festival. I don't have many photos this year and all from Thursday so I'll probably end up writing less. I got far less sleep than usual and spent all day today recovering. I'm not sure how that will affect things. If I worry about those things I'll never get anything written up so Im just going to write and see where things lead.

This was the first Falcon Ridge that I didn't drive to myself. I couldn't rent a car like I planned and was afraid I wouldn't be able to go until Gene and Isabel came to my rescue. On Thursday morning I took the LIRR out to Merrick where they picked me up. This meant taking only what I could carry with me plus the camping gear I keep at their house. I wasn't going to let the lack of material things lesson my Falcon Ridge Fun. It didn't.

Going with other people meant sharing in their traditions. I love traditions when people realize that they aren't requirements or laws but things you do for pleasure. One of theirs is stopping at a smokehaus, yes that's how it spelled, for lunch. I had bratwurst. You know I'll never object to that.

I guess I should point out to My Gentle Readers that aren't regulars that no matter what I'm writing about I'm going to write about food. Food is always important. As I once said to Carey, food likes me.

The best part of driving up with Isabel and Gene was three hours of neuro conversation. If my brain weren't totally fried I'd share some with you. Well no I wouldn't, I'd simply allude to it as nobody who isn't part of my best conversations can follow my best conversations.

When we got to the Festival I got my wristband. I get mine from WFUV and I'm never sure how it will work. It seems to change every year. The best was the year I was treated as press. This year I was just on the giveaway list.

I camp at the other end of the farm from Gene and Isabel so they dropped me off at The Budgiedome and then drove to Camp Dar.

After saying hello to Paul and Steve who were already there and Brianne, Katie, Jenna, and Abby, who arrived at the same time I raced to get my tent up before the rains came. I should have mentioned that rain was threatening and forecast. I should also mention that racing for me means only wasting a few hours talking. I did get the tent up fast but took a long time to get all my stuff inside.

Things get a bit blurry in my memory but I know I said hi to LORi and my once a year family at the Steeple tent. We had new neighbors this year, Annie Donahue & Erik Balkey, aka The Copper Ponies.

The big news at the Budgiedome was our expanded community. The core group is Lori, Steve, Paul, and me. Last year we were joined by Brianne and Katie. This year they brought Jenna and Abby. Carolann, Mark, and Felix joined us for the second time. The first timers were all chicks with dip and their friends and family. There were the YaYas, Jay, Catherine, and Paul, Honor Finnegan, and Meg Braun and her friend Charmaine. That doesnt seem like enough people. Am I forgetting someone?

When I was all set up I went down to the Lounge Stage, another one of my social hubs. Falcon Ridge used to be four days and start on Thursday night. When they cut it back to three Pesky J. Nixon and company stepped into the breach and put on their own Thursday night stage complete with lights and sound system. The most important thing of course is the food, smoked meat and grits were the highlights.

I heard lots of great music but when the rain came and temporarily shut the stage down the fun didn't end. We crammed inside "backstage" ate and talked. I was surrounded by some of my favorite people many of whom I rarely see. I got to meet Hugh O'Doherty. I had taken his photo at the Christopher Street Coffee House's Jack Hardy tribute and posted it on Facebook. Because of that we became Facebook friends. This was the first chance we had to talk face to face. We ended up talking for a long time and got to know each other. He is now a friend without the qualifier "facebook." That's one of the things that Falcon Ridge is about. I got to hang out with the lovely Sorcha and Jo who I had met at NERFA but not seen since. Grammar question, how do I make it clear that the lovely referred to both Sorcha and Jo? I've seen ilyAIMY, Heather, Rob, and Kristen, more often and we talk more online but it's still a joy every time I get to see them in person. I talked to more people than I can possibly list. There were Frheads I met at my first Falcon Ridge, Kat, Jillmom, and, and, and, and I haven't had enough sleep so I'm forgetting Jill's husband's name. I've only known him 13 years.

I headed back to the Budgiedome for the song circle. This was inspired by the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival. The professional musicians and amateurs play together with no distinctions. We've tried it before but this time worked the best since the very first. We had a lot of people and it started on time. We didn't have to wait for people to show up. The highlight was when Katie, who is not a musician, got up the nerve to sing a song from Cinderella a capella. I love that she felt comfortable enough to do that. It's my ideal of how things were supposed to go. She of course got a rousing ovation when she was done. Next year you should sing something.

The one problem with the success of the song circle is that we stayed up very late. I still go up at 7:40 the next morning. In fact I awoke between 7:40 and 7:50 every morning no matter how late I stayed up. That is why I'm so tired. I got less sleep than I ever had at the festival. And it was evening and it was morning the first day.

I've written 1193 words and not reached the beginning of the official festival. It shows that what matters is as much the community as the music. I'll be writing more about this in my other Falcon Ridge editions of Wise Madness. Falcon Ridge is Brigadoon. It's an idyllic village that emerges out of the void once a year. Thank you everyone for making this the best weekend of the year.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile July 31, 2012
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