Zach and I pulled into the driveway hoping to find a campfire raging with song and dance, our venue for the night. But all was quiet. We picked up our welcome packet and drove across the communal living space to 'the Duplex,' my residence for the weekend.
A familiar bearded man approached to greet us. I had visited this farm twice prior to join the SOA Watch protest and vigil at the gates of Ft Benning, GA about an hour away. So it wasn't too surprising to see a familiar face - except that I was certain I knew this face from somewhere else entirely! His name was Mitch, a young man that I actually met earlier this year at the first annual Wild Goose Festival in podunk-nowhere, North Carolina (I suppose we have a penchant for meeting in exactly this type of setting?). He's in the middle of a three month internship at the farm, he said, assuring us also that the campfire singalong was soon to begin.
We sang songs into the late night hours, entertaining each new throng of people as they congregated at the campfire. Student groups were busing in from Tampa, St Louis, Minneapolis; residents joined us intermittently. Most were gearing up for the SOAW event in Columbus that weekend.
I had a terrible attitude about the whole thing, like a disgruntled punk or hipster ("I was into that before it was cool"). Of course there's a lot of overlap between SOAW and Occupy. But I wondered how many of those people - those on the stage I mean - actually WERE occupying anything; I just couldn't shake the feeling that they were exploiting the movement, politicizing it, perhaps even making a few bucks off it; finally, and perhaps most significantly, I probably resented that the organizers didn't allow ME to play on that same stage, as they did last year.
Still, I wasn't there to criticize these people, I was there to support them, to show solidarity. And if they wanted to show solidarity with OWS, then.. well, what the hell. I could still do my thing.
And that I did.. until I broke a string. Zach left me alone for the rest of my tour before that happened and I arranged to ride back to the farm with one of the student groups.
The rest of the weekend is something of a blur. I recall seeing many friends from all over the country - NYC, DC, NC - and making new ones both at the protest and at Koinonia. I also recall a wild goose chase for new guitar strings all around Columbus and napping at the convention center.
I've resorted to narrating my naps. Sufficed to say, I had a great time overall, but I've run out of interesting things to say about it. Check out this blog entry from the Matt 6:24 blog for more on my relationship with SOAW (same as linked above).
On Monday I was picked up at the farm by a gentleman who had been at the protest and was driving back to Tampa. We shared a rather quiet ride until he dropped me off in Gainesville. I spent some good quality time with friends there, leading up to my 10p show at the Civic Media Center.
The CMC is a community-supported radical library and resource center. I was struck by how similar their space is to Word Up Books up in my hood.. except that the CMC has been around for 15+ years! There is probably much we at Word Up can learn from them.
The show went great; I played with local acts Sea Oats and Queen Anne's Lace, who were both awesome. You should check them out!
My good friend Jorge, from Orlando, joined me for dinner and the show in Gainesville. We drove back to Orlando in the late night hours, as he had to work the following morning at Sleeping Moon Cafe, a chill spot in Winter Park that was also to be the venue for my Orlando engagement. I spent the day eating complimentary food and searching craigslist for a suitable rideshare the next day to Miami, so i could make it home in time for for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The show was well attended, I made a decent amount of money, and I had a killer grilled cheese sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, and muenster.. MUENSTER!) while catching up with my good friend and fellow volunteer, Sam.
The next day I found myself riding a 15 passenger van with a bunch of craigslist ridesharers. I would make it to Miami after all! Good thing, too, because I couldn't wait for Thanksgiving dinner, my lil sis' wedding, and a long weekend with my fam back in my original stomping grounds.