In the last chapter, I associated my most heartfelt feeling of home town(ness) with Gibraltar and Burning Man. I also wrote about two community events that seemed like the fertile grounds for an emergence of this feeling within the town (loosely defined) where I really live. We'll leave Gibraltar off the coast of Spain where it belongs for now, quickly revisit Burning Man, and then move on to the place where I make my home.
One of my Facebook friends, a Burner who I haven't seen or talked to since at least August of 2006, hosted an "orphan" party for Burners who wouldn't be making their way to the festival this August. I am sadly one of these poor unfortunates and had been feeling just a bit sorry for myself because of it. When I saw Curtis' invitation, I was elated. As it turned out, the only person at the party who I knew was Curtis. And yet, because of the Burner energy that I experienced there, the sense of acceptance and openness and belonging, I felt at home. More about that later.
In my August 20th post, I wrote hat I'd joined a group called the Sculpture Jammers in March. The week-end during which the community is involved in the creation of this year's project is less that a week and a half away. This year we are creating a "spirit house." There will be five or six "altars" within this spirit house. Through the ideas that I have contributed from its inception, I have become a part of this project and this wonderful group. One part of this larger project, a shrine (loosely defined) to The Cosmos, emerged solely from my creative process. It was My Project. And then Susandra joined me, shared the work with me, showed me easier ways of doing things. And the project was joyfully no longer just mine. The photo at the top of this paragraph is of the maquette I created before Susandra became my co-creator. You can click on the picture for greater detail. The one at the bottom is the current state of the project. Eventually I hope to post photos of The Cosmos when it is finished as well as the spirit house when it is installed at the park where it will be displayed for two years.
The other community event that I mentioned in my August 20th post was The Great Handcar Regatta. This will be happening on Sunday and I will be volunteering at the booze booth. It will be my awesome responsibility, along with some other brave souls, to check the IDs of people who want to purchase wine and to pour it for them. And here we approach The Thrilling Conclusion. Will I feel a sense of home town(ness) at this festival? I think the possibilities are highly favorable, first because I'd gotten the sense last year that it was a context in which I could feel at home, and second and much more importantly I have found the sense of home town(ness),
within myself. It's taken me 60+ friggin years to arrive at this place. I am comfortable with myself and, largely thanks to Burning Man, but also positively reinforced within my community, I have finally developed the minimal social skills to relate with my fellow human beings. There is a caveat to this: I need to be in an accepting environment. A friend of mine, a new friend as are virtually all of my friends, told me about someone she knew who went to live in a "retirement home," a group situation. The people there seemed to have settled into their solid little cliques. They had neither the need nor the desire to make new friends. She had become an involuntary loner. It is likely that I would not find home town(ness) there.
But maybe I would. I'm far more outgoing than I've ever been (and not obnoxiously so). Maybe I could make my way in such an environment. I hope I never am in the situation where that or an involuntary solitude are my only options.
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