String Cheese Incident - stories about time travel and serendipity ...
Chapter One, written on paper with a pen, on the way down and transcribed verbatimSo, after totally abandoning the idea of getting to Hornings' to finish the lighting project or getting to see the show we had built unfold, I am now rolling down highway 101 in the back of a Toyota RV.
We just crossed the Duckabush River - the 4th time I have done that in the past week. I have no idea if it is the right thing to be doing, but the only way to find out seemed to be to accept the ride that was offered and see what is on the road in front of me.
My age is finally catching up with me: consequently, the person I see in the mirror often meets me with surprise in his eyes.
It seems like ever since I crashed my bike, I have been getting slower and weaker and softer and that my level of energy output keeps decreasing, but that I keep taking off assuming that I am still the same old me that I always was, and that I can still just turn up the length of the work-day to accommodate any level of interruption that I let get in my way.
But that doesn't actually work anymore. Maybe it never did, but now it's just become some sort of big lie that I keep telling myself - that I will catch up between now and 3 AM or when
< too bad, the next page of this is missing ... >
The total amount of time I have spent in cars over the past month is totally
outrageous! Two trips to Oregon, two trips to Cultureseed in Olympia, two trips to Tacoma, a
trip to Seattle ...
the only saving grace in all this travel is that I have spent some of it in other people's cars
that were going my way, and going other places as well.
Funny - this riding around in cars thing. I have spent literally YEARS of my adult life riding around in cars. I average over 10,000 miles a year in cars and at 60 mph that is more than a full month of 24 hour day and if you don't count days as 24 hours, at 30 mph that's almost 3 months out of every year.
For the record, there is a fascination to it: I have literally lived in two
cars - a Dodge 4X4 and a VW microbus, and now my life is trying to be jammed
into a 27' Airstream trailer and it is proving to be SO resistant to fitting
into it that I cannot help but ask "for what purpose?"
Chapter Two, written after the event, on the computer
The next 3 days were nonstop work, running as fast and hard as I could to get the low-voltage
LED lighting that we had built for Dancing Dragons' Festival of the Forest last fall, and the new
"interactive stuff" like the switched platforms in the Blacklight Meadow
that we had built at
Norm's garage at Cultureseed in Olympia installed ...
The next 3 days were nonstop work, running as fast and hard as I could to get the low-voltage LED lighting that we had built for Dancing Dragons' Festival of the Forest last fall, and the new "interactive stuff" like the switched platforms in the Blacklight Meadow that we had built at Norm's garage at Cultureseed in Olympia installed ...
... and the brand-new stuff that I was still putting together for Peak Experience up in the production barn, like the lights for the Tarot cards and the interactive controller for the light-tunnel that was set up across the lake from mainstage. I finished my light setup work at around 11:00 PM Saturday night and in my last struggle to get a large tarot card sign across from the beer garden illuminated with one of the small car-battery-powered spotlights that I had built by covering .5 Liter water-bottles with matte-black gaffer's tape and mounting 5 watt halogen pin-spots inside, I lost both of my favorite knives - my Klein Tools electrician's knife with the paint spattered blue rubber handle and my vise-grips Leatherman Crunch, which I took to mean that since my tools had been swallowed by the night, I was finally done being a "worker".
So after watching the epic combination of choreographed fire-dance
(warning - this link is a big movie file and it's NOT to the event I am about to
describe ... at least not yet) and I don't
even know what to call it when about 100 people holding really enormous panels
of glowing fabric illuminated by thousands of watts of black-light assemble
themselves/panels into parts of a huge animated sculpture that includes 5 huge
(think over 30 feet long) balloon structures filled with helium, and then IT -
the thing they have made - starts to do a dramatic dance all to the
accompaniment of a very large and very loud rockband ... anyway, at that point,
I joined the party.
The 5 hours that followed between then and daybreak was about as interesting as
any period I have ever been alive: an enormous battle raged between forces that
I am sure are just reflections of what is going on inside of me, projected onto
others who were providing screens for me to illuminate as much with my confusion and my
clarity. But these people appeared more than willing to provide me with the canvas
and sets for my drama, and to meet me inside it, over and over again. Basically,
I thought that I was looking for a chance to really let go into making music, or
at least I think that is what I thought that I was looking for ... but what I
found first was beauty - some of the most intense physical beauty I have ever
A woman appeared clad in a bodysuit made of a stretchy and perfectly stretched black and fuscia fluorescent fabric that had solid-color fuscia panels that wound up her
legs and around her torso. I suppose that it must have been designed by a master
pornographer because the presentation of her derriere was riveting beyond
anything I have/had ever seen. She was totally covered in this pants-suit and
yet when she walked through a crowd, literally everyone in the vicinity turned
to follow her, astounded.
|The net effect being that her male counterparts balanced her perfectly and she spent a lot of the evening walking around with a gorgeous fur-and-spandex-clad male on each arm. This was a major theme for me in this event and it found to be an extremely clear illumination as my own personal battle: every step forward revealing the ever-more-rapidly-growing gulf between myself as I am and my sense of who I have always been but will soon no longer be, and the lure of the physical beauty of youth and my own waning part in the dance of male and female.|
|I followed them around for a while, engaged in a 4-way conversation of mostly low-grade banter because we had made very good music the night before - people had salsa danced to our stuff - which had all been based on them playing my stuff - and the singers were really good and had jammed cool and clever words on top of my melodies and I wanted them to do that again but it eventually became apparent that they were done with that part of the adventure and were now on parade ... and eventually I had to let them go, around 4:00 AM down by the lake, where the highest and most spectacular of the party animals were gathering for the blowing of the gigantic bubbles for sunrise, an annual tradition at these events.|
And within 100 feet of letting them go I found the other band, the one that was waiting for me.
And almost at once we became the house band for the still-seriously-tripping
crowd that was gathered on the hillside above the lake, waiting for the bubble man to
call up the sun.
The bubbles were incredible! It was impossible to comprehend how we were all locked into a feedback loop where the music and the bubbles and the audience were all sharing one mind, but it sure seemed to be working that way. Was the music controlling the shapes the bubbles took, or were the bubbles controlling the music? I really cannot say ...
The band was composed of a cellist from Portland code-named HiJinx, a djembe player named Elijah, my guitar, at
singers, and a small high quality sound system playing an ambient mix. We played
duets with the vocalists enveloping us, or making counterpoint to us, and the
ambient mix supporting us and the enormous shape-shifting bubbles guiding us for approximately an hour until
in perfect synchronicity with a bubble's bursting the
cello's neck snapped completely off its body making a huge noise. It was
astonishing. The recording I made on my digital camera catches the snap and the
aftermath clearly: people around us are saying "oh my god oh my god that was so
intense!" and it certainly was.
After that, I played with the singers, and Elijah the djembe player got out his blue guitar.
And because Elijah is in some incomprehensible way golden and his music is
totally and unhesitatingly attractive, people flocked to us and lay down around us like flower-petals and as the
sun warmed us, people undressed layer-by-layer until most of them were at least
half-naked or at most lightly covered in the morning sun.
We tuned our instruments to the backup chime on the sewage pump-out truck that was servicing the sanicans across the lake and harmonized it into our music.
There is still a lot more to this tale.
On Monday morning I allowed myself to get trapped taking the path-lanterns down and dismantling the interactive lighting in the Evolution Camp UV meadow installation, and when I finished the removal and went dowmn to the bus camping meadow with my gear, I found that my "official" ride back home had left without me, so at around noon Monday I was hitch-hiking the lines of vehicles stuck in the giant traffic snafu exiting the site with PORT TOWNSEND WA written in big letters on my small thermarest sit-pad.
Don't know why they left without me; donít really care: it was obviously
what was supposed to have happened. Because I ended up getting a spectacular
ride that only appeared when almost all the cars had left the site.
The main laboratory I use to study serendipity at this point in my life is the Oregon Country Fair, because it is someplace where I have almost enough time and almost enough freedom to do meaningful experiments involving the fit and the overlap between what might be called "deterministic" versus "probabilistic" and "solopsistic" versus "destiny-based" models of "causality" and to experiment with the impact that holding one or another of these beliefs in my mind has on my own personal effectiveness in my role as "building inspector" ....