A Week At CTZ

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 1, 2016

NOTE: This post appeared a few years ago. It was taken down, and edited. The location of the hosting facility has been intentionally obscured.

At 752 am, October 11, 2010, PG warmed up the car. The destination was Central Time Zone. The Gathering had started on friday, but PG found enough slack to go on monday. After an hour on the road, there was a stop at a gas station. The lady said “wherever you are going, don’t work too hard”. PG assured her that, where he was going, that would not be a problem.

At 1130 pm PG rolled onto the driveway to the land. (The time zone play provides a layer of confusion right away. Atlanta is not that far east of CTZ, but is on the western edge of the time zone. While there is little difference in the location of the sun, CTZ is on Central time, and an hour behind.) The first day of a gathering is a lot of work. You have to get your gear down a steep hill, go park your vehicle, hike back, and then set up your tent. The parking lot is about two miles away, and the trail has a steep hill and a poorly maintained trail. You get used to walking on steep hills at a gathering.

People who have been to gatherings before tend to have a preferred place to camp. PG likes the yurt yard, which is right next to the knoll, fire pit, and flag pole. This is a center of activity, and can be noisy. It is also closest to the driveway, and has the least distance to haul goods. PG thinks this is a good trade off, and can go to sleep listening to a drum circle.

There is a lot of dust, after a month with no rain. Water is brought in by truck every day, and water conservation is preached whenever announcements are made. There was a spigot on the porch where you could get water. It was very slow, and getting water was often a social activity.

Dinner monday night was an asian themed event, with several varieties of veg-sushi. One of the pieces had a sauce that was as hot as anything PG has ever eaten. Eating on the porch, with oil lamps providing minimal lighting, it became an act of bravery to eat, not knowing whether the next bite might be your last. PG ate the rest of the dinners inside, where there was electric lights.

After dinner, a lively drum circle started by the fire pit. A tall man, in a striped costume, was dancing with a sign that said “please touch me without asking”. It seems as though there had been a discussion before PG arrived about not touching people that did not want to be touched. Not everyone was happy with this development, and it was a subject of conversation the rest of the gathering. There were also reminders to get consent before taking pictures.

During a break in the drumming, an English lady posed a riddle. A man was watching TV. He turns off the TV, goes upstairs, turns the light on, and jumps out the window to his death. The riddle caused many furrowed brows, and for about twenty minutes no one could figure the dern thing out. Finally, PG asked if it was a lighthouse. The man had learned about a boat crash on TV, went upstairs, cut on the light, and jumped out the window in his shame.

On tuesday, a neighbor cooked pancakes. PG had heard about this for a few years, and finally got to eat a couple. This was followed by a heart circle, lunch, and something called playback theater. PG was imitating a bird that flies into a plate glass window, and took a tough fall back onto the ground. He got back up, rubbed a few things, and decided he was not as delicate as he thinks.

A few raindrops came down, and the theater play was cut short. The rain never did arrive, and the rest of the day was spent chatting with people. A lovely dinner of lentil loaf was followed by a rousing dance party. PG saw the septuagenarian Randy Wicker , and suggested that he act his age.

Wednesday morning, the 13th of October, began bright and dry. There was a hike over to a neighbor’s land, where he was building a foundation for a yurt. The hike went to the bottom of a ravine, and up a steep, rough path to the other neighborhood. The plan was to fill plastic bags with gravel, seal them with duct tape, and arrange them in a circle where the yurt was going to go. The walk back to camp was over a much easier trail.

When PG got back to his tent, there were some goats supervising things. He got a few pictures of one, who said baa to indicate her consent. Soon it was time for a nap, dinner, and a brief ritual. There were no seats left for the know talent show, so PG went to sleep. It finally rained a bit, just enough to make the dust settle a bit.

There was a heart circle Thursday morning. At this, a tarot card is drawn, and the instructions for that card read to the circle. A talisman is handed to the first person to talk. After this person speaks, the talisman is handed to the next person. PG laid back in the sun, with a bright pink baseball hat cutting a crescent into the blue sky. Someone read a poem…
When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
Thursday was going to be a working afternoon. The reason gatherings are so cheap is that all the work is done by participants. PG is not fond of washing dishes. An alternative is to be the greeter. Thursday afternoon was spent at the top of the hill, telling everyone who comes in “welcome to Wal Mart”. There was a scrabble board, and as soon as a game was started the customers came in. The action slowed down long enough to finish the game, with PG losing 271-204.

After dinner thursday night, there was dancing in the kitchen. Someone brought out a tray of a chocolate pudding cake. PG ate a slice, and decided it was time to shoot a video about how it does indeed get better. Soon, the dance broke up, and PG was chatting with octogenarian Crazy Owl…who always acts his age. Crazy Owl left the earth April 4, 2011.

By friday, the pace was slowing down a bit. There was a long, slow walk down the paths behind the garden, with stops to visit along the way. After lunch, PG made the mistake of being idle in the kitchen, and wound up stirring lentil soup for a couple of hours. There was a party friday night a couple of ridges over, but PG decided to stay put. Some movies were shown in the pavilion.

Saturday morning was another heart circle, followed by lunch, and a spell of greeting new arrivals. There was dinner, dancing in the kitchen, drumming by the fire, and the sad knowledge that another gathering was coming to an end.

PG is starting to use his first name, Luther, in day to day activity. Sunday afternoon saw something inevitable happen. PG gave a man a ride away from the facility, toward a house down the road a bit. As the man left, he said ” nice to meet you Martin“.

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