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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 3553
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 28th. 2001
Sirius Rising 2001 (1)
by Don Waterhawk
After a long drive, from our beloved Florida, we arrived safely at Brushwood on Sunday. After saying our hello's to the Brushwood staff and the Barneys', we headed down to the Field. The field looked like there had been a festival going on for some time, people setting up and some tearing down. We were grateful that the weather was being gentle for the setup, but were warned that it was going to be cold tonight. Tell that info to Florida people and watch the terror fill their eyes... it filled ours. But it was okay, for we had brought our 5000 btu propane heater... course, we only use that because of Kokopelli... not for ourselves. We actually like the harshness of camping up north... (cough, hack, #*^&, bull(@#&+shit#@(&)! So we pitched camp in record time, put on our long underwear, and began the happy trail of saying hello to our wonderful northern friends. That night it did get cold... went down to the low 50's. Okay..so we're wuss'es... where we live, 50 degrees is the sign of a incoming ice age.
The next day, Monday, I stayed at the campsite and Daniella went to pick up our daughter Tia from the airport. This was a special festival for us as both our daughters, Tara and Tia, were going to be with us for both festivals. As people began arriving, a big safety problem had arisen in reference to speeding cars on the roads in the field. A young girl was narrowly missed by someone driving way to fast and Frank Barney decided to take steps to avoid accidents. So speed bumps were initiated along the roads. Many speeders complained that their cars were scraping the bottom as they went over the speed bumps. Most were going to fast, or they had their cars way overloaded. But even after a few mufflers, and one bumper was torn off, people still decided that it was okay to put peoples safety in jeopardy. So signs went up..and they were great signs in the Burma Shave format. Signs like... "Sniper on Duty, We're not kidding, Watch for Children... 5 mph... Karma Shave", the signs were great, and did help some. All but one person loved the signs, and this so called pagan decided to tear the sign down nearest his booth because he felt it was a personal affront to his character. Even after it was explained that it was for the safety of the community he was still irate. I want to thank this person as a great Teacher... for he has taught us how not to be... ! So remember people, this is Brushwood, not "Rushwood". The rest of Monday was fairly uneventful other than getting the info for the upcoming Sirius Rising. But we got a chance to walk around and talk to new and old friends on the field and to see how Brushwood is growing. A new lake had been built on the field to control flooding, and several new buildings near the Cafe had been built with new businesses... A juice/smoothie bar, and a coffee shop. Yes... a coffee shop... a sacred area for the worshipers of the Goddess Caffeina. And for the time we were at Brushwood, it was used from the time it opened till closing and always had a long line. Latte's in the field... how delightfully decadent... I love "Raw" camping. It was truly wonderful to experience a rekindling of friendships, some friends that we only see when we come to Brushwood festivals. That night the drumming got going and going and going.
Tuesday rolled in and Sirius Rising got serious. A community meeting was set up for each day of Sirius, people came to find out information and to have a voice within the community. For those that did not make the morning community meetings, you missed good teachings and fun. Workshops started, vendors opened up, and all systems were go. People were still arriving and setting up. This year it was a land grab for vendor and camping space, first come first served. And it didn't work out to bad. Aside for some people taking a bit more space than they could use, it went well and without mishap. We all got a treat with David Korup at his tent with about 25 people, each one having an instrument making tropical rain forest sounds. And it was a blast to hear each other combining our voices to make the sounds of a tropical rain forest. If you ever get a chance to do this with this gentleman, master of sounds, do not miss it... it will reward you with a memory for your child. Our camping group, JP, Susan and Bruce, Frank and Kate, Peg Aloi and others readied for the night party... the Florida Party.
A Tornado Strikes!
The party started about 9 PM. About 50 people attended. The space was decorated with cardboard palm trees, tropical lights, and grand buffet of foods and drinks, and the tunes of Jimmy Buffet singing in the background. (hey... us Florida pagans like Jimmy... so what?) Then around 11 PM some of us went out to the road to look at the lighting light show far in the distance. The air was kinda warm and the light show was spectacular. As it got closer, we realized that another Brushwood storm may be coming and that meant it would be wise to check the stay lines on tents and pavilions. By the time that thought had ended in our mind it started to rain lightly. Daniella went over to our pavilion to get Tia (who was playing with Kokopelli in the pop-up). Some of us stayed on the road staring at the on coming storm. Then all of a sudden, within seconds, the temperature dropped 25 degrees, I mean "quick chill", the wind picked up and I walked over to our space about fifty feet away. I got to the edge of our space when all of a sudden everything went totally still, no wind, no sound... nothing. Now, I grew up as a child in Iowa, I had been through some bad storms and a couple of Tornadoes, and had a good idea what was going on. But I was enthralled by watching a table across the road lift up about four feet from the ground, levitate..then slowly started spinning. Now in my mind came a particular word... but I wish that the word would have been "duck", instead of the word I was thinking... Well, I didn't, and the table slammed into the side of my head and face. It knocked me backwards, then I felt wind like I had never felt before. I got up from the ground and headed for Daniella who was getting Tia out of the camper. She screamed that Kokopelli was still in the camper, I told Tia to get on the ground and Daniella laid on top of her as I went into the camper to get Koko. Just as I was getting Koko out of the door way... it hit. I felt a huge weight on my back from the pavilion as it crushed me against the camper, slamming the door on Kokopelli's tail, pinning both of us. I couldn't tell which was louder, the bird screaming or the horrific howling of the wind in my ears... and then it was over... as fast as it came..it left. We untangled ourselves from the broken and bent pipes of our pavilion, with the still screaming bird that had latched onto my thumb and would not let go... I wish that I had a thumb to latch onto... and on the floor of the camper was 11 long tail feathers from Kokopelli that had been ripped off... owwww!
We got out of the tangled mess of our pavilion, checked ourselves for serious injuries, other than a goose egg on my forehead, a black eye, bruised ribs and back, Daniella had bruises on her legs and back, we were alright. As a community, we reacted quickly fanning out over the field looking for anyone that was hurt or in need of assistance. The sight in the field, horrific. People were milling about slowly, in total shock, here and there you could hear people crying, shouting, cursing. Some were just walking about in silence, not believing what had just happened.
When you looked at the ground, instead of seeing the dark grass, you saw white... which was the hail that had also hit. I don't remember any hail, but it was everywhere. There were articles of everything all over, tents shredded, pavilions turn upside down and twisted as though someone wrung them out. One trailer that was perpendicular along the road, was now at a 90 degree angle along the road. Some peoples space was simply not there anymore. I heard later that Darlene Barney had gotten a call from a neighbor down the road who wanted to know if there was someone camping at Brushwood by the name of ... Darlene checked the computer, and sure enough, that person was camping, when Darlene asked her neighbor how she knew, her neighbor replied, "Because her tent is in my yard".
Click for Part II of this review and credits.
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