The Wild Goose Festival, held each summer in the mountains of Hot Springs, NC, uses the tagline Spirit. Justice. Music. Arts., but four words can hardly describe the delight that is the Goose. It really is one of those magical events one has to live to understand.
I had no plans to attend this year; first of all, I am not much of a camper, and deciding to go at the last minute would mean “inside” type lodging would not be an option. I then read that “Glamping” was available, so I decided to give that a try. (Once and done on that front.) I have to learn to listen to the voice of the Call, however, so off I went.
The beauty of the Goose is that it is the only space I’ve ever encountered where people of every faith tradition (and none) and spiritual practice (and none), gender expression, family composition, musical taste, age, body shape, physical presentation, eating preference, spirituality, country of origin identity, and other ways we typically use to divide one another, come together and break bread together. When I say bread, I mean bread in every sense.
Whether it was the sounds of impromptu jam sessions singing praise for the day’s blessings, the sights of young people freely expressing their joy with dance, the pop of the embers exploding into the night air as we journeyed into a Celtic ancestor meditation, or inhaling the sweet exuberance of a burgeoning relationship of a dear friend, each moment was manna for the soul.
Let me be clear; there were hard moments as well. Listening to far too many stories of the walking wounded who have been kicked out of our churches for transgressions such as being whom the holy intended. Hugging those who have been arrested in our cities and towns for feeding those with no homes to call their own. Trying to understand why anyone would think it is acceptable to ask another “What are you?” or touch another’s hair or skin or clothing. Trying to unpack ways in which my own privilege of many types hurts others and ways in which I can help others with privilege unpack their own.
Moments of joy far outweigh those of distress. There is always more work to do. There are willing and able workers. To see friends I usually only see on Facebook. To hug those I’ve never touched before. To make new friends. To ask, “What is your story?” To ask, “What can I do to help?”