This year, you all get a play-by play, as I have my laptop and no distractions.
It's about 4 AM on the first. . . Night? Day? whaterver it is of Walking Wtih Fire. I just got here thirty minutes ago. Let me recap.
Saturday morning, around 8 AM, I left Columbus. This was after a night of staying in and watching a movie while waiting for my laundry to get done. I have leared, though, that there's nothing like a call from an ex-future-mother-in-law to get the party started and throw an amusing wrench into your plans for the night.
The morning, though, was the most beautiful weather one could possibly ask for to drive in. The clouds were simply amazing to watch and if they ever looked threatening, a quick prayer to St. Barbara fixed the issue quickly.
I thought about a lot on my drive. At one point, I realized that nearly all the songs I'd burned to CD's reminded me of someone, so I found myself hitting the "next" button a lot. I also decided that my life is starting to seriously resemble an Eagles song.
Btw, has anyone ever been to Winslow, AZ? And if I stand on a corner, will you drive by in a flat-bed Ford, slow down, and take a look at me?
PA's speed limit seems to be 45 MPH by default, but at least the turnpike isn't under construction anymore. Of course, I paid $14.75 to take *part* of it! I've never received sticker shock from a toll before, but I did this time. It's okay: there were more tolls to discuss.
While listening to a Kenny Chesney song, "Living in Fast Forward," I found myself wondering if all this festival-going-to was my way of living out that mythic drama. I quickly dismissed that thought, though, as I was falling asleep at the wheel.
So I pulled off at a service area and took a nap. I slept for about 30 minutes, and then got back onto the road refreshed, where I passed under the AT.
I stopped in Philly (after getting lost by going the wrong direction) and had dinner with Mary and Dennis, which was actually rather delightful at a great little diner I'd seen on my way in (after I figured out where I was going). But, alas, I had to cut that short in order to get to NYC, where I was hoping to catch up with Monika.
Unfortunately, Monika fell asleep, so I didn't get to see her. This happened to generally work out for me, though, as I didn't have to detour into downtown NYC on my way through. But I saw, for the first time, the NYC skyline at night. It was, as expected, a bunch of lit-up buildings, but what astounded me most was the smog that reflected so nicely the lights back down onto the water. Amazing.
I got hit with a $5.50 or so toll when I got off the NJ Turnpike, and a $6 toll to cross a bridge. A freakin' bridge. Yeah, there's no reason to have tolls like that. Of course, I paid nearly twice that on my way home.
There is something about driving into New England at midnight and after that allows you to see exactly what Lovecraft saw in this area. I had another stop at another reststop for about an hour and a half nap, and then drove on to the house, where Duke was still awake to show me to my room.
Sunday morning, I woke up to Raa-Raa shouting:
"Is Uncle Mike in there?"
"No, Raa-Raa," came the answer. "Uncle Mike is not in the closet."
And all I could think was, Thank the gods someone knows!
We took a walk out to the beach after I finally got to say my hellos, which was actually more like a set of fun rocks to climb around and sit on and walk over by the sea. I climbed on the rocks and enjoyed the view, all the while knowing why Lovecraft chose this area, this sea-view specifically to set so many of his stories.
Monday, I woke up to find a Cei in my kitchen (Ceisiwr Serith).
On Monday night, after a chat on the phone with Monika, we all sat down and had a chat until about two in the morning. It was one of the best conversations I've ever had at a Pagan festival, and something really felt different about it. I wasn't sure what it was, but the next morning I realized something that was definitely different about the whole conversation, something that I had never seen at a Pagan festival before:
No one was drinking.
It's strange to think that when I reflect on the conversation, and how good it was, one of the most noticible things about it was that no one was drinking. It should not seem so out of place that we were all stone-cold sober, but it does.
Tuesday was spent visiting sights in Marblehead, Danvers, and Salem. We saw St. Michael's Church and toured their grave yard, searched (almost) in vein for the Danvers Mental Institution (the basis for Arkham Asylum which is being torn down to make condos) and also (almost) got arrested for trespassing, the site of the Salem church, and the memorial to the Witch Craze. Quite a bit of our time was spent driving around the crazy New England streets :)
Cei led a great guided meditation based on his PIE work that was entirely in Proto-Indo-European (but easy to follow).
On Wednesday night, I did dishes in just my hat.
We stayed in on Thursday, relaxing and watching movies.
On Friday, we went to Providence and enjoyed a day of wandering from Lovecraft haunt to Lovecraft haunt. I called Monika from atop Lovecraft's grave, and climbed two English Beech trees in two cemetaries.
We picked up Monika at the train station in Prividence and brought her back to the house. That night we hung out and talked for a while before heading to bed.
We slept in on Saturday, and then saw Meghan off to the airport.
On Saturday night, I took Monika to get some dessert at Friendly's, and then I dropped her off back at the house while I took a walk down to the sea shore.
I stood on the rocks, gazing out into the darkness. I looked to the horizon, watching a lighthouse in the distance, and the clouds sweeping across the dark sky. The waves were crashing, and the seabreeze was coming in strong, as the rain from the sky was replaced by the spray from the sea.
I jumped from rock to rock, trusting my footing to fall on the right surfaces. I found my way to a solitary rock surrounded by water, and I turned into the seabreeze.
And that's where I heard the Call.
From far across the water, the winds picked up. They poured over me, cutting through my clothes, cutting to the bone. From deep within the night, the howling came. It screamed in my ears, and dug into my skin. My shirt and bondage pants rippled in the winds, and the chains rattled and jingled in the strength of the wind. I watched the waters below, dark and chaotic, and saw the flowing tentacles in the waves.
I felt that I was both the most powerful and the most insignificant being on the planet. There were things I could summon, and things that could tear me down a deep and dark hole, never letting me out. But I went neither way.
I simply was. I ended my time at Walking With Fire knowing exactly who and where I was. I was oriented.
I drove Monika back to NYC the next morning, and Cthulhu was my co-pilot and navigator for the streets of NYC. I got out alive, which is more than I can say for the driver of the Hummer that pissed off Summer Fun Cthulhu.
Porn videos with Aaron Burr, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Mikhal Gorbechev, Alexander Hamilton were filmed; hot oil wrestling; naked pillow fights; men in skirts and bondage pants were all a part of this WWF. Pictures will be along when I get them all re-sized and re-worked.
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