Well well! Here we are at Solstice, and I still have another week of school to teach! It was a very, very snowy winter ... and now we at the Vo Tech are paying the price for all those cold, white days.
I'm already switching into summertime mode, though. I've got the micro meadow planted with good New Jersey native flora. The Shrine of the Mists is undergoing a cleanup and restoration, and my summer get-away is only ten days hence!
Out in south central Pennsylvania there's an interfaith campground called Four Quarters Farm. It's in the same Zip code as the former Johnson family farm, as well as the resting places of my ancestors for 13 generations, going back to the French & Indian War.
Used to be, when I wanted to clear my head, I would go to the family property and spend long days swimming, hiking, and reading. But all the Johnsons have cleared off the mountain now. There are a few here and there, in other parts of the township ... and maybe they would remember my name and face, but most likely not. This makes ambling about a bit of a dicey proposition. The last time I took a hike there alone I came upon a man in camouflage, carrying a hunting rifle, and nothing was in season. (Thankfully that included female hikers.)
Since I need to put the ancestral land beneath my feet, and since Four Quarters Farm is such a grand Pagan campground, I switched my recharge place. Today I am anticipating my five-day sojourn there, to an event called Drum and Splash, July 2 through 6.
Drumming and splashing are the two things you do at this event. There are several first-rate swimming holes on the campground property. One of them is clothing optional. This is delightful. So that's how I'll spend the day... swimming and reading. In the evenings the drum circles begin at dusk and go pretty much all night. I'm a firm believer that drumming is meditation for people who don't want to sit still. At Drum and Splash, I find like-minded souls, including even a few teachers who workshop the whole meditative drumming thing.
The folks at Four Quarters Farm had to go to county court and prove that they were a religious organization before they were accorded the tax exemptions that all other churches take for granted. That feat has been accomplished. As for the opinion of the regular residents of that Zip code regarding a Pagan campground in their midst, all I can say is that only the very few most ardent fundamentalist Christians have any beef with the place. Growing up in that area, I can tell you that the free spirits outnumbered the Christians, and the badasses outnumbered both. There's a refreshing "live and let live" attitude out there, bolstered in no small part by the shopping the campers do in the area during the summertime. Money talks, and Four Quarters Farm is good for the local economy, without doing any damage to the land.
If I lived closer to Four Quarters Farm, I would be a full member of the church and attend their Lunar celebrations. For now, though, I go drumming and splashing on the deluxe package, with a bunk in the bunkhouse and two meals a day, fires made by experts, and hikes led by guides.
So that is what I'm thinking about on this precious long day of Summer Solstice. Soon I'll be going to pay my respects to my ancestors. Soon I'll be taking the waters. Soon I will walk the land. Safely.