Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too much

I knew that going to the festival would be too much for me. I planned on having two days to rest afterwards. Well, a day and a half. But then I was supposed to be better after that. That's when I get frustrated, when I don't recover on schedule.

When I went back to work on Wednesday, I thought I was recovered. That lasted for about the first two hours that I was back at work. The rest of Wednesday and on Thursday, I had trouble doing my work. Friday and Saturday weren't so bad. I thought I was recovered. I thought Sunday would be better than Saturday. It wasn't.

Embrace the mud!

It rained a lot during the Clearwater festival, and when it stopped raining, the ground was muddy. The ground that we had to sit on when watching musical performances. Most people had chairs. I didn't, but that was okay, because I had rain pants. As I was sitting there in the mud, someone walking past me said, "The thing about mud is once you step in it, the rest of the day is a breeze."

It reminded me of something from when I went backpacking a number of years ago. The trail was muddy. My companions and I were stepping carefully on the least muddy spots. Another hiker came through, trompy merrily through the muddiest spots. He advised us "Embrace the mud!"

What these two stories symbolize to me are that if there is something that I'm avoiding doing, sometimes the best thing to do is to plunge in and get it over with.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

All a Man Can Do by Tom Rush

"All a Man Can Do" by Tom Rush starts off with a young man saying goodbye to his parents, young and fresh, embarking on his life. In the end,

It doesn’t seem so long ago, I hitched down to New Mexico
I kissed my mama, I saw my father’s stone
Friends are gone or out or touch, but nothing seems to change that
The desert’s hot the sky’s still blue, I’m getting by still making
Take your chances take your shot, cause 50/50’s all you got
Make each day the best you can, that’s a line I understand
Live each moment like your last, cause life goes by you so damn fast
Make a promise and keep it true, cause that is all a man can do

What this makes me think of is that we grow older, we all experience hardships and loss. The unwise feel sorry for themselves and feel injustices have been done to them. The wise recognize that it's part of the cycles of life, and are able to maintain their sense of wholeness and keep on going through life, keep on seeing the beauty in life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What I like about volunteering at Clearwater

People think I volunteer at Clearwater because it's a folk festival. That's what drew me to it, and an essential part of what it is, that's only a part of it. I'd rather be there as a volunteer, doing work but missing some of the music, than as an audience member attending every performance. One of the things that I like best is being part of the community. I don't necessarily talk to individual people much, but I like being in an environment where I feel like I'm part of the dominant culture. In my regular life, people think the food I eat is weird, they've never heard of the musicians I like, and they think my values are unusual.

Another aspect that I like is the outdoor environment. I like the scenic views and the rugged living. I like pitching a tent. I like being able to weather the rain by wearing a raincoat and rain pants.

What I want to do with my life, Clearwater edition

When I go somewhere -- to the Clearwater festival or to visit my family -- I feel like I know who I am and what's important to me. When I return to my normal life, it is with the sense that soon it will all slip away -- I'll get caught up in my life again, in caring about the wrong things and not knowing who I am.

Here is what attending this year's Clearwater festival told me:
  • It's important to me to be in a community where people strive to treat everyone well. If you have a goal of doing good in the world, but you don't treat your own people right, you've lost it. In every community, there will be some discord, but it makes a difference whether or not people have a sense that they are all committed to treating each other as community members.
  • I like doing physical work and working with people. Perhaps neither is an area where I would be an expert, but I like doing the work, the nonskilled work that gets assigned to volunteers.
  • I like being useful -- having demands placed on me and being able to rise to the occasion.
  • I like being outside.
  • I like not having to cook, wash dishes, drive, clean house, or manage finances.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hooray for summer

I love summer because after work it is both light enough and warm enough to go outside. And on weekends, I can go sit by the river. And in summer I'm less sick.