Oh, what a fair! Or more precisely, what a really different fair this year! The Common Ground Country Fair is always a magical place full of such great energy, people, and vibes. Kindness and generosity are everywhere you turn, and hope and optimism in the air you breathe. It really is a special place, and I've always known that to be true. It's what keeps me going back year after year after year, no matter the obstacle (though, in retrospect, perhaps bringing a ten day old Adelaide was a bit of a silly thing all those years ago!). But this year, it seems I was to learn that lesson of "folk" in a more intimate and personal way, as unexpected events had me less present and involved in the fair than ever before. There was the stomach flu that suddenly hit hard here at home with Steve and the littles, making it so that they missed the fair this year for the first time in their lives! There was much sadness about this fact, and the t-shirts, adorable though they may be with that goat this year, were but a mere consolation prize for not attending themselves. I think my sweet Adelaide has a calendar already started counting down the days until she can go to next year's fair. Oh, stomach bug, boo!
But there was more unexpected adventure and surprises in store for me at the fair too. When we ran out of magazines on day one (a good problem to have, I'll grant you that), it meant an early morning drive to retrieve more - far, far away, missing most of that day at the fair too. And then the next day, the kicker of all, I found myself sitting in the emergency room of the local hospital, struggling with an asthma attack the likes of which I haven't felt in twenty years or more. Oh my! Between all of the above, I feel as though I hardly saw the fair this year, and barely was there.
BUT. What I did get was still that amazing feeling of goodness and positivity - in the form of the many gifts those around me gave so generously all weekend long. Steve, of course, for so amazingly holding down the fort with sick and sad kiddos (what a fifteenth wedding anniversary weekend it was!). Sarah, Taproot contributor and friend, who gave up precious weekend time to help us set up, and staff the booth, and feed us all so very well. Veronica, our support staff in Vermont who practically drove through the night at the drop of a hat to meet me to deliver more magazines when we ran out. The ever-steady and strong Meredith, our associate editor and friend who was along so fully for every minute of the ride. My assistant Rhiannon, who jumped right into the fray for the first time with such enthusiasm and joy (and who lent me her eye, in the form of all the photos above, as I never did walk around this year at the fair!). Stacy, who ever so lovingly and yet firmly (oh those farmer midwives certainly have a way about them!) insisted (when I was resisting), "You're going to the hospital. We've got this here covered." And then there are all the amazing people who stopped by the booth to say hello - some I met and many that I only heard about from the crew. Folks stopping by to share their love of Taproot, to support our publication, and to tell us the stories we love to hear about their own lives, loves, and family. Stories that remind us that we are all connected.
Ah! Common Ground! We can't do anything on our own, now can we? We need each other. And what a gift to be reminded of that, in a new way and with new light, perhaps. And so I return home from a very different fair for me, but with the same feeling that it always gives me. The gift of connection to folks.....just the very thing we all need as we draw inward for the seasons to come. In, but not alone.