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Some people know fireflies as beautiful beetles with iridescent internal organs that magically appear in summertime. We love them, as most do, and marvel at their magnificence every year. No less magnificent is the Firefly Gathering which happens around these parts every summer. A camp for people to learn “skills to live with the earth” it is an amazing meeting of minds and hearts with more interesting classes on offer than is humanly possible to take in. This was my second year attending and Cecily’s first. Last year I was there for 2 days and 1 night and this year I really felt the need to be there. Without even knowing all the classes that would be offered or who would be teaching them, it was pure instinct that nagged at me to make a bigger commitment this year.
So we packed up for a 4 day and 4 night full experience last weekend which required a couple of days off work and some help with cat and plant care. It has taken a while to write this entry as there has been much to synthesize and integrate from the experience. Where to start…okay well we rented a cabin since we don’t have camping equipment. That put us is in a small but happy minority considering the amount of rain we had the first couple of days. Not that we were without moisture. Nothing in the cabin was dry the entire time we were there. But at least our temporary home was not floating on the flooded fields as many tents were. Our first lesson was in proper packing for the outdoors. A mere 40 minutes north and at higher elevation, our downtown home has been so warm that we’ve been sweltering for weeks. Expecting sweaty sleepless nights, we packed two fans, sheets, lightweight clothes and proceeded to freeze our behinds off that first night in the woods. Cecily went back home the next morning to resupply us as her scheduled class was offered another time.
Speaking of the classes…. between us we took classes in felting, bee keeping, home orcharding, spinning, earthen paints and mead making, 3 permaculture classes and 2 plant walks. Most of them were amazing. The permaculture classes were taught by some of the country’s best and most experienced instructors. Lucky, lucky us. All this in a beautiful camp setting.
Then there were the people. It turns out liked-minded people come in many shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. I think this is one of the best things about the gathering. Buckskin-clad 20 yr olds mixed with 40-something real estate agents related to 70 year old lifelong learners interspersed with children of all ages. At one point many of these people were waltzing together to live music before the hokey pokey broke out. This was followed by the drum circle which went until the wee hours.
Ahhh… the drum circle. We like us some drums as much as the next girls and can even appreciate the accompanying primal yells from time to time. But after 3 nights of it, combined with brain saturation from so much knowledge-share, we decided to return home to our DOWNTOWN condo one night early where we could get some PEACE AND QUIET on a SATURDAY night! Can’t wait for next year.
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