I’ll be camping in a few weeks, at glorious Shakori Hills in North Carolina. To my surprise, we haven’t camped since last year’s inaugural Wild Goose Festival. How did a whole year go by with camping plans remaining only in the dream stage? (Well, Sandy did start a new job, and we did buy a house. We have been pretty busy!)
I am, however, somewhat ambivalent about joining a gathering that’s rooted in the Christian tradition, no matter how progressive, gay-affirming, and open to other faiths it claims to be. Lately I find myself reluctant to assign any labels to my thinking, but it’s not so far off to say that my journey currently camps on the shores of agnosticism and panentheism, and looks out on the sea of atheism. I don’t believe I’ll ever embrace atheism (drown in that sea), but reading those tides and watching the dance of those waves holds my interest these days, while talk of salvation and eschatology and Christian theology and biblical hermeneutics kind of nauseates me.
There are upsides awaiting me at this festival. In no particular order: there’s a lovely field on which to play frisbee. My partner and I may be filming a project, which should be interesting. It will be nice to have some significant hang-time with several friends. I’ll likely feel summery-clean inside and out from the sun and tent sleeping and eating sparsely for four days. As far as food goes, we’re again doing the “minimalist” camping thing, as we coined it last night in a preliminary camping meeting with a local friend who will be joining us. That same friend is open to learning how to play hacky-sack. I’ll get a chance to hear some good (and quite possibly some great!) live music.
Not least, I might get an opportunity to sit with and look at and get to know a few of the myriad of feelings that bubbled up at last year’s Wild Goose that I never really did articulate, either on paper or in my head. The only thing I ever managed to put words around was this: it was remarkable to be with my partner, sometimes holding hands, sometimes sitting nestled together, in a public place, for four days, with a noted absence of attention. No one did a double take, startled. No one seemed to awkwardly try not to look. No one openly celebrated our open hand-holding. No one really noticed. It was lovely, the absence of feeling as though I were in a fishbowl.
For that gift alone, I am glad to be going to Wild Goose (East) 2.