The First Beltane

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on May 5, 2011

Thursday April 28 PG woke up at 6am, and was on the road by 7:15. The three days before this had seen several rider cancellations, and a serious storm in north GA. Finally, PG decided to ride by himself, and waited until the weather radar said it was clear ahead.

The ride went smoothly for 98 miles, until the traffic slowed down to 5 mph. There was tornado damage around Ringgold, and it took about an hour to go three miles. The sky was overcast all though Chattanooga, with some threatening clouds to the east. After going through Monteagle Pass, the sun broke through. For the time being, it was glorious.

Arrival and departure at SMS can be a production. You drop off your gear at the top of the hill, and move your car to the parking spot two miles away. You hike back, and hopefully your gear is down the hill. After lunch, you find a place to set up, grab a wheel barrow, and move into your Tennessee mountain home. Before long, it is time for the dinner circle.

Every night before dinner, the community gathers on the knoll. Inevitably, someone has an announcement. This first night, it was mentioned that the people who had been to gatherings before should mentor the new arrivals. PG wondered if this was really a good idea.

After dinner, the first night, PG helped some neighbors set up a tent. He left their site, found one of the trails, and started to walk. Before long, he realized he was lost. It was not raining, and there were extra flashlight batteries, so panic was not appropriate. After a while, PG found the garden, and was able to backtrack to his tent. The next morning, he counted the steps, from the drying shed to his tent.

Friday April 29 After settling in for a day, it was time to do something. The reason gatherings are so cheap is, all the work is done by attendees. After breakfast Friday, PG went up the hill to greet people arriving for the weekend. It is a fairly simple process…say welcome home, show them where the bags go, and give them a parking slip for their vehicle. Next, you give directions to the parking area, help them back their vehicle up without going over the edge (the hills at SMS get steep fast), and direct the new cars in and the leaving cars out. The time goes by fast.

At 4:20 on Friday, a memorial for Crazy Owl was held. One day, the former Charles Hall asked to be sat up. He was propped up, and stared off into the distance. A few minutes later, he left this planet.

A procession started at the knoll, and went up the ridge to the memorial grove. A stone had been carved for Dr. Owl, and was passed around the circle. PG began, and ended, his comments with the words “all my relations”. Whoops from a nearby party could be heard throughout the remembrance.

During the day, people continued to pile into the sanctuary. Someone went around the dinner circle Friday night, and counted 225 people. PG long ago learned to be on the edge of the circle closest to the kitchen, and to walk fast the instant the circle broke.

A dance party was held Friday night in the pavilion, with drumming by the fire. Both events were too crowded for PG’s comfort. He went to bed early.

Saturday April 30 The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had a procession, to carry merchandise from the storage tent over to the pavilion, for the auction. PG wound up carrying the front part of a large, heavy, picture display. After he picked up his end, a person made a speech that seemed to go on forever. Finally, the procession started, and was soon over.

After lunch, PG was wandering around aimlessly, when the parking commandant appeared. Someone up on the hill has been there a couple of hours, if you want to go relieve him that would be great. At one point, a carload that had been wandering lost arrived, and was ecstatic to have finally arrived in the right spot. After a while, PG had to go back downhill, and get the truck driver to go back up the driveway, and bring a load of gear down. All in a day’s work.

Sunday May 1 This was the first Beltane for PG. He had been to the Maypole dance twice before, in 1987 and 1989,back when it was called Mayday. After the maypole was covered in ribbons, PG put his hands on it, and gave thanks for the 22 years since the last time. *It rained all day on Beltane*.

Monday May 2 After breakfast, there was a heart circle on the knoll. The sun was out, PG got too much on his back. He drew the Knight of Swords card, which told him to go get a shirt. This was not in time to prevent a sunburn.

A friend asked PG if he could use a cell phone. To get the device, and then to ride up to the top of the driveway (the only place at the Sanctuary where there is reception), PG rode in the community golf cart. This was a first, and made PG feel that much more of an insider.

At dinner circle Monday, it was announced that a heavy rainstorm was on the way, and blackberry winter temperatures. It was also mentioned that a car was laying on it’s side, on the road to the parking lot. PG joined the crew of men…three of whom were wearing skirts…that went to push the Ford Tempo upright. On the third push, the vehicle fell back onto four wheels. All the wheels had air, although one looked like it might need fixin soon. As Goatboy said, “This is a first”.

Tuesday May 3  The reports of heavy rain and cold temperatures were not exaggerated. PG spent most of the day wandering around, discovering the limits of water resistance in his gear. This was the last full day of the gathering, and a spectacular dance party was held in the main house. In one room there was a “Soul Train” theme. In the kitchen, there was “Solid Gold”. It was the last outbreak of glitter until the next time.

4 Responses

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  1. Crazy Owl « Chamblee54 said, on June 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    […] that he is going to be all right. Update: Here is the story of his final days. The story of the Memorial Service. is […]

  2. […] road a bit. As the man left, he said ” nice to meet you Martin“. AddendumPG has been to Short Mountain Sanctuary many other […]

  3. Beltane | Chamblee54 said, on May 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    This is a repost. […]

  4. Crazy Owl | Chamblee54 said, on April 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    […] Owl is going to be all right. Update: Here is the story of his final days. The story of the Memorial Service is […]

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