My boys came home from summer camp this year speaking in hashtags. Hashtags, as in Twitter, Instagram and the like. "Hashtag what's for dinner, Ma?" or "Hashtag that's cool." It makes no sense and there's no logic to the use of it (much like hashtags in general, yes?). But it was camp lingo (or more likely "pre-teen lingo, everywhere), along with a few other gems that made their way home. It was equal parts adorable (knowing they had that connected experience with camp friends) and irritating (I mean, really now...hashtags?). We weren't there. We don't really get the joke.
I feel a little bit like that right now. I want to share with you a glimpse of the experience we just had at our Taproot Gathering at Squam, but taken out of context, it must seem so strange (yes, yes...I quote the little folksinger any and all chances I find). Not that we all walked around the woods of New Hamsphire speaking our own Taproot Squam language, but you know what I mean. It's a struggle to convey in any meaningful way what happened there - because it happened there. The oversimplified summary is that it was beautiful. The vibe - oh wow - it was just so good. Quietly buzzing, gentle and calm, deep and real. See? Now I'm speaking in jibberish one-word hashtags.
Going into the Gathering, I was prepared for a full and busy week of work (good, good, good work, of course). I was sure it would be fun, I hoped all would go well, I had faith the people would be lovely, I knew the food would blow everyone away (provided by Bread and Butter Catering - it really did blow us all away!). But my experience - in this different role this year - was so much more than that. Bearing witness to the magical experiences people had (really, magical is the only word), was a gift that brought this total introvert and non public-crier to tears over and over in those woods of New Hampshire and overwhelms me more than I can say right now.
Alongside the gracious, vibrant, open, loving spirit, perfect hostess that is Elizabeth, I had the great pleasure of playing Mother Hen this week - walking around, checking in on everyone I feel as though I got to see so much of what was happening. I watched new connections form, I watched teachers share skills and experience that was grabbed right onto with eager enthusiasm, I saw personal and community creativity blossom, I saw transformations occur, and I watched families (yes, families!) thrive by being together in such a space of beauty, kindredness, and learning. Goodness, we really do need each other, don't we? We need community. We need kinship, we need spaces carved out where we can nurture ourselves and our families. Places we can leave from, headed home with new energy, skills, knowledge and experiences to better our daily lives and the world around us. I look forward, greatly, to figuring out ways to create more (more! more!) gathering, whatever that may look like.
For now, I am so very glad to be home with my babies and my garden and this home I love so much. It's just for a moment or two though, for we pack it up and head out the door again for the next Taproot stop - the Common Ground Country Fair. Where I'm fully expecting more full and good days, beautiful creativity, amazing food, and a special community. Yes.