My front passenger tire was flat on Tuesday and we were due to leave Wednesday. Not good. So I put some Fix-a-flat in it, took it to get some air and went to the nearest tire place, which was a Goodyear. Because my tire size is a bit odd, it would be $200 to replace it, which was money I didn't have. They couldn't find a hole due to the fix-a-flat so we decided to chance it and just go to the event and hope for the best.

Left Wed. afternoon and made it to Ruth's place in Louisville without too much incident. An accident in front of us tied up traffic so I did a U-turn (illegally, but the police had much more important things to deal with) and got there in time for a delightful dinner. And tornado sirens. So off we go into the basement (which is more a root cellar with the washer, dryer and furnace) to wait them out. Thankfully, nothing hit us and we were able to leave the next morning for Cai's in Culpeper. Another meal with dear friends, another night in the AC and we made to the campsite Friday morning.

Liana and Amal started putting together our campsite when it was realized that I left the TENT POLES at home!!! Now, I'm usually incredibly prepared, even over-prepared for things. Usually, but not this time. So off I went to the nearest WalMart to buy a cheap tent and when I got back, Irene said she had one we could borrow. *facepalm* I'll be returning the new tent in a little bit, since I really didn't have the money to spend on it. As is my usual MO, I pre-cooked our meals and heated them up on the camp stove and shared our meals with my dear friend John. I also didn't pack blankets, because it was so hot last year. I didn't plan on the temperature dipping into the low 60's/upper 50's at night. OMG, Cold. Again, my friends saved us; John had extra blankets we could use.

Had a wonderful time seeing friends I don't see but once a year, listening to music and drumming the fire circle. Left Sunday and made to Roanoke to spend the night with a friend from my high school days. I haven't seen Chris in over 20 years! It was great to catch up and meet his lovely family. Left there Monday morning to head home and stopped at a Pilot for coffee and a bathroom break. I heard a crash outside the bathroom that sounded like the guy mopping dropped his mop into a display or something. Nope, as I left the bathroom there was a woman lying on the floor with her cane next to her. So, being the ex-EMT that I am, I checked her over. I did the best I could considering that 1) I was wearing sunglasses 2) I had no tools and 3) I have a bum shoulder myself. I was able to determine that she likely dislocated her shoulder and had a concussion and relayed that information to the paramedics that showed up shortly afterward. Got a free coffee for my troubles and the rest of the ride home was without incident (unless you count being able to swerve around the deer on the interstate and then get whacked by a bird that couldn't decide which way to go).

So, that's all the mundane stuff. Long trips are often eventful in some way, but this one was a bit more adventure than I like.

I did my first public ritual in 5, 6? years. Because it was the opening ritual and many folks are still arriving and setting up, I didn't expect too many people. I didn't take a count, but I estimate 20-30; smaller than I'm used to but perfect for my first time back in so long. It went very well and I was able to get right back into the groove as if I'd never left it. Thanks to John for helping me out and leading the spiral dance, since doing so would probably tax my shoulder too much. We made a beautiful yarn web and once we laid it on the ground, you could see multiple pentacles in it. Totally random, of course, but obviously meant to be.

Later in the day, one of the guys that manages the bonfire asked what we intended to do with the web. I thought that we'd toss it into the fire to disperse the energies we put into it. We talked and tried a few things and decided to twist the yarns together (after taking the web apart and untangling all that yarn) and knot it in intervals (essentially doing some knot magic) and use the cord to line the fire circle area until the main fire circle on Sat. night.

Saturday morning saw me awaken at 7 am to get a shower and coffee into me before my workshop at 9 am. Again, I didn't expect many people to show up: it's early, people were up late drumming, dancing and drinking, etc. And again, 25-30 people were there waiting for me. We had a great discussion on what BTW is and isn't with good questions and comments. Then, a man came up to me (Lord Rath) and told me that he'd been to the first NYC PPD in 2001, when we had to move to Washington Square park due to 9/11. He said it was that ritual, written by myself and Joe, that inspired him to seek training and become a High Priest. I couldn't help it, I was so touched that I burst into tears. I know that ritual touched many; Joe and I considered it our masterpiece. I didn't expect that 10 years later I'd run into someone in a different state, though.

Saturday also brought great food, workshops, a wonderful main ritual and music. As always, The Dreamscapes Project and Cassandra Syndrome rocked it out. I didn't care for the middle band, River Runs Scarlet, but only because I'm not really into screaming metal. The fire/drum circle began, and John and I carried the cord around the circle, explained what it was and put it in the fire. Then we drummed, chanted and danced for hours (or everyone else did, I pooped out around midnight). Mia stopped by on her way to Raleigh from Vermont and we were able to hang out and chat for a while. For some reason, the bottles of mead were left at my feet (easier to find if they're in one place than being passed around, I guess) so I functioned at the Mistress of the Mead (or as the night went on, the Booze Bitch) until I retired. So much energy at this circle, it was amazing.

Sunday morning saw us taking down camp and then John's closing ritual, based on traditional Greek ceremonies. By then, I was exhausted and in pain but I was honored to function as the Grain Bearer for him. Then we were off home, happy, tired and glad we were able to make the trip with so many obstacles in our way. I plan on going back next year, and since Irene asked if she could "rope me into another ritual and workshop", I'm already formulating ideas in my head.

All in all, a wonderful time spent with good friends that I don't get to see but once a year. I'm truly honored to have been a part of it. Thank you, Irene, Tom, Rebecca and all the other organizers. You made my year. :)
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