This is part 2 of 4 – to start from the beginning please go to Rainbow Gathering, Day 1.
My husband, step-son, and I just returned home from the rainbow gathering in the Big Hole Valley area of south western Montana. I wrote most everyday while we were gone and thought I’d share our adventure:
Written on July 1st
Last night was loud with the thunder of drums, horn calls, yells, shouting, belligerent cursing youth passing by on the main trail, and a variety of other noises. It was cold and seemed to go on for far too long before dawn broke and the camp was plunged into a quiet I thought may never come. And though sleep came in spurts and the noise at times was overwhelming I did not feel myself pulled into a torrent of irritation, which would’ve been the case not long ago. Instead of trying to block out the din I opened my ears to take it all in. Just as in life every drop of now is decided good or bad based on our degree of fighting or embracing.
From our sleeping bags, amidst the drumming and celebrating, we also listened to a frantic search party for a 5-year old little girl named Mara on our first night in camp, who turned out not to be lost at all but asleep at a friend’s tent. We were told that close to a thousand searchers (which I would guess was an exaggeration, although there were a good many people calling her name) were looking for her. We heard the calls for her echoing through the trees, bouncing near and far, and when finally after 20-30 minutes the yell came, “She’s right here!” and the whole camp started cheering my eyes welled up with a profound sense of gratitude for the sweetness and triumph of community caring and support.
I began the morning with some light guitar playing and singing softly to myself a Cowboy Junkies song which attracted a fellow by the name of Jai who was staying in upper bus village and helped to run the Roadkill Kitchen where he said they served elk, venison, and trout. He came off the trail to say hello and wound up playing me a couple of his songs which were quite good.
It was another bright, sunny day on the official start of the gathering, July 1st. It has been estimated that 6,000 people are present so far with more expected in the next couple of days. Folks from all across the nation are here, all ages, all colors, to peacefully assemble on our shared forest land.
We did some exploring today and found the info booth, Kid Village, the Granola Funk stage, Montana Camp, and a host of other camps. Jaden (my step-son) and I spent time in the late afternoon relaxing in a super comfortable community teepee reading and lounging on huge pillows, mats, and blankets. The teepee was set up in Kid Village and run by Children of the Earth, an intentional community and school in Oregon. We went through trade circle, played frisbee with a growing number of folks in the open meadow while waiting for dinner at main circle, Jaden played someone at a game of chess, I spoke with a local rancher named Clay who let Jaden and I pet his horses that he and his kids rode in on and handed us elk jerky to pass around, and I set up Quiet Corner Meditation Mat just in front of our tented homestead with a sign inviting folks to have a seat. We met friends new and old, ate well, walked and walked and walked some more. It was a good day (and the night wound up passing much quieter than the one before).