This weekend almost didn’t happen for me because my Newfie was barfing. Fearful of leaving her with some malady that might not turn out well, I stuck around, even unpacked a bit, convinced that she was in a bad way. My very practical husband called once back in cell phone range (up here that’s an iffy thing) and basically booted me out the door. “Go”, he said. “I’m coming home and will keep an eye on Aggie”, he said. “No news is good news”, he said. I threw everything together again and bolted, muttering thankful prayers for common sense.
The drive to the other side of the Green Mountains from here is always beautiful, even with end of summer tourists milling about in the rain. Coming down into Manchester, Mount Equinox loomed in the mist. I love the immediacy of those mountains. Boom, there they are, looming up right away in your face. I live at the foot of a mountain, a big rocky much climbed hulk, but the outward slope of its arms give it visual distance.
Once through Dorset, with its Inn and history and everything painted white, the road comes out in a valley that I love because it’s “not”. It’s not fancy, it feels like Columbia County, NY. There are working farms, ramshackle barns, unpruned trees, beautiful old houses.
Of course I’m looking at all this wonderful stuff whizzing by as I’m trying not to go 80 miles an hour, to get to meet friends and kindred spirits I’ve mostly never met. The word lemming comes to mind and I dismiss it. This will be a gathering of a clan. A clan of creatives, a gifted group of wannabe pirates with a wacky sense of humor who have come together because of the opportunity given us by a man with a vision.
Jon Katz is an author with a large following, both in print and in the cyber world. He had the idea to form a creative group using the framework of Facebook three months ago.
The result (after some necessary growing pains and identity consolidation) has been a miracle. That’s how I think of it, a worm hole into a safe place to create and express and fall flat on your face, and get wonderful feedback from the rest of the tribe.
So I got to the weekend’s “opener”, at the home of one of the Group, a beautiful place on a hill with sloping fields and horses, a couple of hours late but not too late. Getting out of the car I felt like jumping up and down with excitement and at the same time quite bashful. I skipped my 50th high school reunion this summer because, hell, I hadn’t managed to lose the 50 pounds of f*-you weight I was convinced was necessary to show up. But not this time. This was about who we are, everything that makes us the talented, caring members of something unique. I had brought Me there. That’s what mattered,
The rest of the time on the other side of the mountains was all I hoped it would be, from the cookout on Saturday night, to staying with a group member and her wonderful family, to the Open House at Jon and Maria’s farm yesterday. We all gradually met each other (are you an Open Grouper?) and passed each new acquaintance along to the rest. Names turned into people who were as interesting and open in person they were in the ether. Conversation flowed, more stories told, hugs exchanged, delight in one another’s company was evident. As we shared the day’s experiences, I was aware of a strong spiritual current flowing. The Farm is a special place, created by the love and energy of two remarkable people.
By the time we gathered in front of the barn for group shots, the connection was pretty palpable. Standing there I had the strongest feeling of linkage. While I joked about this feeling like the group shot at the end of A League of Their Own, and “there’s no crying in baseball” was bandied about, I felt replete, peaceful, my soul satisfied. What Jon had started was the real deal.
On the way home I felt tired and jubilant and exhilarated. Taking a more southerly route back over the mountains, following some powerful rain storms as I went, it did not surprise me to see multiple rainbows over the valley mists and green of the mountain tops. Only fitting I thought, to mark the day. Sitting here this morning letting the words flow, I felt no great sense of parting, of regretful goodbyes yesterday. I’m pretty certain that’s because I know everyone is right here, in the group, flowing on. And Aggie is just fine.