As per not bummer summer rules, the hubs and I went and did something a little miraculous, a little crazy, a little dusty, a little dreamy last night. We went to Pickathon, a huge festival in the woods quite famous in portland-town (the most sustainable festival ever! indie roots/folk marathon! circus performers, beer gardens, camping!). We got free tickets (yay!) and wandered over last night. It really is a gathering of weirdos, thousands of them in the (very hot) summer sun.
It has been a few years since I have suffered the indignities of crowds, dust, and standing and squinting and listening to slightly fuzzy music that are the hallmarks of festivals. I didn’t know very much of the music at Pickathon, but it didn’t matter: the people watching was way too distracting.
Hippies, hipsters, families, burn outs, old timers, the shirtless, the under-the-influence, the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, the babies, rockstars, the middle-aged: they were all there. I kept trying, desperately, to pick up on a common thread with all of these thousands of people and the only one I could come up with was this: everybody was having a good time. Nobody was stressed, or fighting, or complaining about the weather/food/music. It was all very super chills.
My favorite was the Woods stage, a short hike up into the mountains into a magical, branch-covered stage. We managed to catch the Barr Brothers play right as the sky went dark, and it was a truly beautiful experience.
We also saw Blitzen Trapper at the main stage earlier in the day, and they played my favorite song. As we sat there, listening to the words with thousands of sunburnt people, I realized that these were the dreams of most of the people in attendance. They want to be in the woods, to experience the fullness and realness (and inconvenience) that it offers. They want to run careless through the snow, raise their children up as gently as they please.
I do, too.
Truthfully, we didn’t fit in at the Pickathon. We mourned the fact that we have not bought 100% into any real sub-culture, but we envy those who do (the tattooed, the punk rock, the hippie, the hipster, the suburbanite–all entail a certain level of commitment that we are unable to come up with). And it’s ok. We have our few commandments we have heard, those that we must heed to. And so we will keep going to festivals, or neighborhoods, or churches, where we don’t quite fit in. Like the song says, we have our own instincts and obediences to God to listen to.
And they could be boiled down, really, to this (stolen from another band, mewithoutyou): open wide our doors, to whatever makes us love you more.