Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lucidity 2012; the Dripocalypse

Apollo & Calliope, Live Oak Camp  Photo by Mike Smith**
Our trip to the Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, last weekend was truly an epic adventure! 
The weather reports promised 70% chance of rain on Thursday and Friday, and I hoped that we’d get some light sprinkles, as opposed to a miserable downpour.  Alas, my prayers to the rain gods were summarily dismissed – they had other plans!

We traveled the 3 hour journey on Thursday night, winding through dark hills and valleys in drizzle and creeping white-knuckled through pockets of fog. Dore once again managed to guide Apollo (our Jeep) and Calliope (our gypsy camper trailer) safely to our destination, though there were a few scary moments. We arrived around 10:30pm to a drenched campground, squelching through mud and getting soaked through whenever we left the shelter of our vehicle.
We pulled Calliope up near our setup area, deserted due to the downpour. Everyone was huddled in their tents or vehicles, so we climbed into our trusty gypsy wagon to weather the storm ‘til morning.

Unfortunately, Calliope wasn’t quite watertight.  This was the first time we’d taken her out in a rainstorm, and we discovered that the edges of the roof had a few gaps that allowed the copious deluge to find its way in.  Fortunately, I’d brought plenty of paper towels and extra bath towels, which we stuffed into the cracks to soak up the drippage.
Dore braved the elements to throw a tarp up over the roof, which kept us a bit drier, but got him a whole lot wetter.  We wrung out and hung his soaked clothes up as best we could and turned on the gas stove for a bit, resulting in our own personal, steamy little sauna.
Calliope's Rose Window  Photo by Mike Smith
The night shook with tremendous thunderclaps and the disconcerting, ripping sound of lightening, which sounded like it was striking VERY nearby.  It was quite the epic storm, and I nervously wondered aloud what would happen if we were struck by lightening.  “We’d probably explode,” was my husband’s reassuring answer.  But we were surrounded by trees and structures taller than us, so there was that small comfort (haha). 
We jokingly dubbed this dramatic night: "The Dripocalypse".

  As I sipped some wine and snuggled next to my husband in our slightly damp little gypsy cave, reading a good book* by flashlight as the elements raged around us, I felt my tension and anxiety melt into exhilaration and a deep gratitude for a life less ordinary.  We were in a beautiful oak forest, safely sheltered inside a magical gypsy wagon that we’d built together, while Nature’s awesome power thrashed around us.  I realized that I was really quite happy to be there.

The next morning the rain had slackened a bit, the most threatening of the thunderheads had moved on, but it was still mighty wet.  We managed (despite treacherous mud slicks and gopher holes) to get Calliope into place under a gorgeous old oak tree and spent most of Friday waiting out the storm.  We caught up on some sleep, got a lot of reading done and got to know some of our camping neighbors – lovely people each and every one!

Photo by Yay Fuzzy**
I am always inspired by the hardy resilience and good spirits of the folks who attend these camping festival events.  Despite plans being upset, hours lost, equipment drenched, unavoidable wet and mud, there are always smiles, hugs, offers of help and positive attitudes.  These are the kind of people who don’t let a bit of rain get in the way of their good time.  I know that there are MANY, MANY people who would be whining and stressed out and miserable in this situation – I’ve been that person  myself on many occasions - but this community has taught me that being whiny and miserable is a choice.  You also have the option to put things in perspective, make the best of it and be pleasant, despite things going wrong. 

Calliope & the Gypsy Mystery Arts booth
That afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds – the sudden golden glow cutting through the gray gloom of the day.  A cheer rose up from all around, hundreds of voices rejoicing, whooping and howling through the sparkling forest.

The next two days were absolutely gorgeous.  The storm had scrubbed the sky clean and majestic white clouds sailed across the brilliant blue.  The birds were singing, and everyone’s spirits were soaring.  Enduring the dreary weather had made us all the more appreciative of these bright and sparkling days.  I must have seen at least a dozen people stop in the middle of a clearing, turn their smiling faces to the sun, open their arms and just soak up the warmth and light.  Beautiful.

Once we were able to set up our booth and put out the art, we got a fantastic response.  We had opted for placement in the Healing Sanctuary area, as opposed to the main marketplace.  In past experiences, a bustling marketplace hasn’t been very conducive to folks taking the time to really enjoy the artwork.  People would just zip by with barely a glance. 
But this serene, sacred space invited people to actually explore and connect with the imagery.

One young man wandered into the booth and spent a minute looking around, smiled, and said: “It feels really good to look at these.”  I think that may be one of my all-time favorite comments on my work! 
Many wonderful discussions were sparked, many people expressed their enjoyment and appreciation of my artwork, and we sold a number of prints and shirts.  We got tons of useful feedback and ideas to explore in the future.

Photo by Yay Fuzzy**
We also set out some cushions this time next to Calliope, along with a guide to the symbolism contained within the elaborate “Garden” artwork on her side (you can explore The Garden here).  As we’d hoped, many people made themselves comfy and contemplated the piece.  Several people said they’d seen many of these symbols before, but didn’t know what they meant, and appreciated the information. 

We got to hang out with old friends and make many new ones.  Dore was, as always, a most excellent partner.  Calliope needs a bit of repair and maintenance, but she served us very well.  It’s always a joy to invite people in to explore Calliope, and share our story – she is no doubt an inspiring conversation-starter!

Dore and Myself

It was a phenomenal weekend, despite the less-then-ideal weather at the start, or perhaps in part, because of it.  I’m energized and inspired and looking forward to the other festivals we will be attending this Spring and Summer. 

*So glad I brought along my copy of Ginny Reb, by Brian Haner - wonderful Civil War historical fiction
 **Special thanks to Yay Fuzzy ( and Mike Smith for their beautiful photos