I am sorry this post is a long and scattered but since it is fresh in my mind everything came out all at once. My tenses are screwey, and my spelling is a bit off, so patience please...
You would have loved it all! I am by no means a camper, and I dealt with it just fine. I was afraid it would be 200 homos huddled around a habachi (sp?) cooking an eggplant, but they have the system DOWN! Meals are regular 3 times a day. People are asked to participate any way they feel comfortable-either preparing or cleanup- but no pressure. There is a gorgeous ceremony the night before Beltane where they chop down last year's maypole and then burn it to the sounds of a drumming circle. People become truly possessed and dance around (some naked, some not) in celebration. Because of the non-stop rain this year it made the bonfires a bit less frenzied than usual (so I was told). But they were beautiful nonetheless. Coincidentally, one of the only moments where the sun shone for a long period of time was on May 1st when they raised the new pole and were blessing it, at which point everyone began screamin and cheering and then at the close of the ceremony we all just hugged and danced around and fed each other fresh fruit that was being passed around on these large hollowed out shavings from the may pole. I know this may all sound ludicrous to some, but to feel the energy circulating around the maypole at that moment was brilliant. This is the kind of thing I would ridicule for days, but having been a part of it is truly humbling and really made me feel small compared to the elements. For example, at last years Beltane, the moment the maypole was raised, the sky turned black and with one clap of thunder and a flash of lightning a torrential downpour began. If that doesn't say something about the past year then someone please offer a better explanation.
Throughout the week they have different activities which you can go to, like drag badminton, a no-talent contest, a drag show, a cotillion, the crowning of the Csarina (amid whispers of a coup)- some fun and some goofy stuff. The freedom to express yourself in any way you see fit is overwhelming.
And talk about Tony-hounds!!!
Before each meal the would have a circle where people could just make announcements about the days events or requests. Sometimes, the circle in the afternoon was more of a "share how you feel" situation. All circles were regulated with a talking stick. Seriously. Sometimes people said really moving things and sometimes....not. But to lay in a hammock and just listen to people reflect on their experiences at the Short Mountain Sanctuary was very moving.
And at the end of the week was the Kool Aid party. I must confess that a lot of my time on the mountain was taken up by thinking about this party because Hush had asked me to dj at it. I had never been to SMS before; no one really knew me except for a handful of NY faeries who were there; and they already have several amazing dj family members who usually play at events there. While I felt that everyone else was expressing themselves and contributing to the gathering I still felt like I was holding back, like the only way I was going to be able to share with everyone what it meant for me to be there and how much I cherished the experience was by laying the soundtrack for their journey that night. There had also been quite a bit of talk about the party so there was a bit of "prove yourself" pressure on top of it all. But most of all I was just nervous that I couldn't rise to the occasion. How wrong I was! I am not saying this to merely toot my own horn because I swear I was merely channeling what was being fed to me by those people.
First of all the party was held in this outside pavillion which glamnerd, Rain, Tex, and several others set up during the day. There were tie-dyed sheets (naturally), xmas lights shining through the wooden plank floor, and beautiful video by glammy. The party began at 9:30 with Justin Bond saying a prayer- basically saying that we were rejoicing the fifth element, the spirit, and that we were in a safety zone and there were plenty of lifeguards around so if you felt like you were in danger to just call out for help. After a brief moment of chanting of "I Aint Going Down To The Well No More", I played "Welcome To The Pleasure Dome". As I'm sure you know Mommy, it begins with a spoken word bit that ends "I am no longer an artist. I have become a work of art...welcome to the Pleasuredome." JC and gorgeous! At that moment the music started and glam's video went on, the lighting effects came on and people cheered. I took those people to another dimension for 8 hours. The amount of energy, love and respect in that pavillion was almost too much to handle. I felt like I was literally telling each and every person how beautiful they are and that for that one night everything in the universe was alright. No body freaked out, no body got hurt, no drama ensued. It was unbelievable. I only hope I am able to participate in something that inspiring again.
One of the phrases that was repeated throughout the week was "Welcome home." I can still hear it ringing in my ears.
Saturday we came back to New York.