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
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
March 17, 2017 - 11:19 a.m.
Yesterday I went to my Post Office Box; at least that was the plan. There was in incidence on the that made huge delays. I was too late to even attempt to get there. I didn't want to waste the trip so I went to Trader Joe's to get Irish bangers. They only carry them near St. Patrick's Day. I'll make bangers and mash; I'm a good Irishman for a Jewish atheist.
It's St. Paddy's day, the middle of March, what better time to write about Falcon Ridge. What brought this on is what happened between two friends of mine. One posted on Facebook that she needed something expensive to get a job in her field. Someone that she knows only from Falcon Ridge quickly offered to send her one. The giver is very generous but it's more than that. It's that Falcon Ridge is not just a festival but a community. When someone's barn burns down everyone gets together to raise a new one. It is so much more than a shared interest in folk music. It is what makes the festival special.
We don't live in the center of town, down on the flats, but in a village on the hill. Things are less crowded up there and we get the beautiful view and can hear the music from the stages. My home is The Budgiedome. I knew LORi and Steve before we ever went to the festival but they became some of my closest friends because of it. It's where we met Paul who is the Budgiedome emcee and stage manager. Brianne was some kid I saw at some Kennedys shows. Then she started camping with us. Now she's family. Her friends, Katie, Abby, and Craig, became my friends. I was close to Carolann and Mark before they started camping with us but it brought us even closer.
Then there are our neighbors. Like all villages, you get friendly with the neighbors. The Camp Steeple crew, Emily, Joe, Sarah, Carolyn, became family too. The rest of the camp became friends. Mel is not part of either camp but she's part of the combined camp; she is in the clan. These are all people that are part of my life even when I'm not at the festival.
Then there are the big city people we became friends with. There's the lounge camp, Pesky J. Nixon, Scott, and Company. They put on the Lounge Stage so everybody knows them. There's Camp Stupid Americans, Phil, Allison, Gary, Aaron, and the rest. There are my friends from the photographer's pit, Neale, Jake, Kathy, and Amy.
Then there are the musicians, especially those that play the Budgiedome. Some have become so close that I visit and stay with them. So many became friends. She hasn't played the Budgiedome, yet, but I have twice proposed to Susan Werner at the festival. She hasn't accepted. She thinks that her being gay and having a hot girlfriend will discourage me. She's wrong of course. I just look at those as far easier grounds for rejection that I get from most women.
I always make the rounds early in the festival, visiting the lost and found, the press trailer, the WFUV and Acoustic Live booths. I can't forget Taste Budd's; I always tell them they are the main reason I go to the Festival. I'm not sure that's an exaggeration.
It's so nice walking around and seeing so many people I know and that know me. It's so nice walking around and meeting new people who you can immediately have a meaningful conversation with.
My problem is that I can begin to list all my friends from Falcon Ridge but I can't finish it. I'm always going to end up leaving people out.
I used to call Falcon Ridge people my once-a-year family. But that's not true. It's the people I spend Thanksgiving with. I have spent Christmas with Falcon Ridge friends. When I need help I get it from Falcon Ridge friends. When they need help they know they can call on me.
Falcon Ridge is essential for my mental health. My therapists agree. It is the best thing for quieting the noise from my brain. I was talking about this with Brianne. We think Falcon Ridge should be paid for by health insurance. I know so many of the community feel the same way.
A friend asked to get the time off for work and called it a family thing. She's right. It is a family thing, a clan thing, a community thing. I'm only on the farm from Thursday to Monday but the festival is in me all year round. So much of my social life and emotional support system comes from Falcon Ridge. Falcon Ridge is even better than Festivus.
On the Road Through Fairfax County - March 23, 2017
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