I've been trying to figure out how to write about Falcon Ridge this year since the moment I got on site. There is one thing I'm sure of now, the festival gives you what you need if you let it, and sometimes what you need is some deep healing. Healing hurts, and I hate to associate my home with pain, but this year was a strange and visceral rollercoaster that threw me off the other end into a peace that I know I can't really feel anywhere else. A peace I know is not lasting unless I foster it.
This past year broke me, physically, mentally, emotionally, artistically, and financially, and good part of this year's fest was spent in quiet contemplation, often painful contemplation about what and who I lost and what I hope to gain in the next year. Falcon Ridge is a touch stone for me, each year I can look back on the previous one and notice how I've changed and how my family there has changed. This year I noticed that I needed to be closer to that family, I spent more time at camp mostly listening to the conversation, jumping in when I was able, but trying to soak up the calm as much as I could.
It is the people of this festival who make it so incredible, I watched a child chase a butterfly across the hill, my photograph was taken under the milky way, I danced alone on the hill to Vance Gilbert as I sobbed cleansing tears after a tough day the day before. I was allowed to be quiet and feel my sadness on Friday, but I was also lifted up and not allowed to sit in it by people who have been where I am right now. The love and safety that surrounds our little bubble in Hillsdale is something indescribable, and the relationships I've gained and deepened from this festival are special, a glance shared with Katie, while Tracy Grammer sings our anthem brought back how far we had to come to get right where we were, I'm not usually a softie but on that hill I let down my armor, I cry, I laugh, I dance.
I mentioned family a few times, and when I say family I mean a fiercely protective beautiful tribe that I've come to know and love both inside and outside the festival. One that has no problem handing over food and aloe for my empty stomach and my sunburnt back. One that tells me the world will open up even if it doesn't feel like it now because it did for her. One that greets me with open arms and a reassuring word when emotionally things got a little too intense on the journey that was given to me this year. It is the Budgiedome family that keeps me going back every year, and it is that family that serves as a reminder throughout the year that there is a little bit of peace in the world even if it's only for a couple of days on Dodd's Farm.
This festival is a gift. The people are a gift.
So thank you. There are not really words for what you all have done for me.
I guess what I'm saying is what we say every year.
I'm going into town for 51 weeks, I'll be home soon.