Monday, June 8, 2015

Travelogue: Lightning in a Bottle, Part 3

What: An Art and Music Festival with a New Age Twist
Where: Bradley, CA
When: Friday, May 22nd to Monday, May 25th
With Whom: my friend Ashley and her boyfriend Matt

Part 3: Exploring

I can't stop staring.

My brain tries to make sense of the mesh of people on the road: the bathing suits, the body paint, the flowing skirts, the head scarves, the college sweat shirts, the tie-dye, the tight leather bondage gear, the full furry animal suits, the tight sparkly pants. It's too much. My brain won't digest it.

It handles the landmarks better. The bathhouse, the tower of light, the gate with the white medallion, and we're inside the the festival. I memorize the route.

In the daylight, its a circus. Big top tents and people in costumes. A ferris wheel and a giant skee ball ramp. Rows of vendors selling leather belts and earrings made of bicycle gears. A dome with a silent art auction.

At night, it becomes a carnival. Lights everywhere. Lasers bouncing from the main stage, glowing flow toys, people in neon-lit fur. It's easier to stare at night, and as I gaze from costume to costume, I wonder why they chose to dress this way, what they're trying to express.

We lurk at the edge of the stage, and I want to dance, but I can't get into a groove. People keep bumping into me or moving around me, taking me out of the moment. It's becoming too much. My sensory brain is overwhelmed. So I drift off to the lakebed, where water has sunk into the earth, making the land verdant, green and beautiful in the sunlight.

At night it seems like an endless chasm. I stare over the edge of the earth. Why have I come here? What have I expected to find? Will I find my own niche? Or will this alien landscape swallow me up?

* * *
To Be Continued...

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