sometime in the late 1970s, when I was seven or eight, my dad took us to a bluegrass festival in southeast kansas. the festival was only as old as I was at the time. we've pretty much attended every year since.
more than a music festival (though the bluegrass makes us all happy), it is a reunion for us. old friends and every so often, new children, travel from all over to meet again in kansas. we camp, cook & eat together. we spend afternoons under our coveted canopy of shady walnut trees. (sunny kansas days can still get hot in september) and then on our evenings we sit by the fire sipping drinks (unless a big rain comes through). or we go for walks around the grounds, seeing music played or just run into other friends from other places.
it was this annual reunion which d. and I would always see each other, and which on year we finally started flirting & he asked me out on our first date.
this year we spent a week at camp. the early days being quiet, with only a few of us. we set up our tents, and a community kitchen. no electricity or running water, but we went ahead and built a brick oven so we could bake whatever we felt like (zwieback, cinnamon rolls, pizza -- helps to have bakers in the camp). and when the larger crowd (& all the kids) arrived, we had the camp ready for them. (and though we love seeing the whole group, the quiet early days are always missed.)
really it is just the being there that feels so needed, and it is hard to describe it to folks who have never been. but our pop-up community, this september gathering, and the quiet afternoons under the walnut trees seems a necessary chapter each year.