Sunday, July 15, 2007

I've been getting this thing. It's on the edge. In my peripheral vision. On the tip of my tongue. But I'm not sure where, nor even what exactly it is. It's all shrouded in hazy piles of stuff and it's hard to clear it all away and to focus. But I feel like I need to, somehow.

I've been thinking a lot lately about living simply. About not having a lot of stuff. I'm always hearing about so-and-so, who just bought a brand new such-and-such, and I've been thinking about how all this stuff is a lot of money, and rather unnecessary, and it makes me feel kind of repulsed. It seems like having so much stuff unnecessarily is so wrong. But then I was thinking that while having large amounts of material stuff is not good, so is having large amounts of financial stuff not good. What's the difference between using your money to buy things, or having it sit in some savings account by the hundred collecting interest? I think it's important to be wise with how you spend your money, but maybe if there's that much money to be had, I should be giving more.

I heard Shane Claiborne talk a few times at cs. He's one of the founders of The Simple Way, an intentional community downtown Philadelphia. Something in me calls out to that. To the idea of living simply, in community, sharing all things in common, giving and helping and serving the poor and the community, living with only the things you need, not all the things you want. I think that's more in line with how it's meant to be. If you look at the early Church, and the life of Jesus himself, it's how they lived. Where have we gone so wrong? All of this make lots of money, buy all you want, make yourself 'happy' - it's all missing the point.

But how can you share with the poor, with those in need, if you don't know any poor?

So I've been thinking about what I can do about all this. My lifestyle right now is easy and convenient, maybe it's even practical and realistic. But I feel sometimes like I'm missing the point. Maybe I'm just too idealistic.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Driving on the way to Cornerstone in the wee hours of the morning, everyone else in the car was asleep, the moon was to the left of me: big and low and bright, changing slowly from yellow to orange to red (you and the moon are a beautiful sight to me). It was hard to not look at. There were fireflies in the ditch, their tiny yellow green sparks flashing for just barely a second. Later, watching the world wake up and come back to life. The sky growing lighter and lighter all the time, the highway slowly filling with morning traffic as we neared Chicago. Everything was making the turnover from night to day.

Upon our arrival, we lined up in rows in the field, awaiting entrance to the grounds. Laying on a blanket behind the car, we rigged up a makeshift tent with another blanket secured under the trunk, trying to make some shade as a way of escape from the crazy heat. We were all tired and hot as we had to set up all our stuff and the frustration only grew as I realized I had brought along only the poles for the frame of the shade tent and not the canopy itself. So we made a trip into town where we bought a new shade canopy, which was cheaper than buying a tarp and string and pegs. After that I felt much better. Amazing what a trip to Wal-Mart can do for you. But maybe it was just the AC.

At Cornerstone it's all hot and dust and people and noise and music everywhere all the time. Until it rains, and then it's mud and people and noise and music everywhere. The roads become a slippery muddy gravelly mess. Flip flops flick little specks of mud all the way up your back from your ankles. Little mud spots were found in Riki's hair on the top of her head. These little flecks of mud do not dry flat, and when they are dry, they can be picked off and then become powdery dust once again. Everything is damp all the time, either from the heat, or because of the rain.

The last few nights got chilly once the sun went down, and long pants and sweaters became necessary. I regretted not bringing an extra blanket into the tent with me when I woke up cold. But the blanket was outside, and I was wearing socks, and my sandals were not just outside the door, and I was mostly still asleep anyways.

It's interesting to see how different the crowds are that hang out at different stages, because of the types of music that are played at each stage.

So many bands, so much music. Some highlights for me included, but were not limited to: Rosie Thomas. I had known a few of her songs and so wanted to check her out. She was unexpectedly hilarious. From her music you'd never guess it, but her live show was so funny. Even her voice was surprising. Her singing voices is beautiful and strong, but she has this tiny high-pitched talking voice that made me laugh every time because it was so unexpected. Over the Rhine. They play the same slot at the same stage every year at Cornerstone, but this is the first time I've taken them in. I borrowed some of their cds from Katie when we were in Ukraine (she's a big fan) and I was hooked. That woman can sing, and they both have such a stage presence. Their live show was just great. Josh Garrels. Riki and I stumbled upon him our first year at Cornerstone when we ran into the nearest tent to escape a sudden downpour and he happened to be playing. I've been a fan ever since, but this time he was playing with a full band of very talented musicians and the show was great. I also discovered some neat bands including Tifah, Bluebirds and Bright Lights, the Upstairs Divine, and Questions in Dialect.

So many people of all ages everywhere always. I saw tiny babies that could not be more than a few weeks old, as well as graying seniors, and every age in between. Plenty of piercings, flowy skirts and cute dresses, coloured hair, skinny pants, tattoos, large sunglasses, christian t-shirts, band t-shirts, flip flops, slip on shoes, black leather with metal studs and buckles, mohawks, dreadlocks, big beards, babies strapped to backs and bellies with backpacks, sheets or slings, greasy hair, dirty feet, crazy tan lines.

I see all the people, all the styles and crazy unique outfits, and I wonder if many of these people actually dress this way all the time. Or if they bring out their wildest clothes for such a time as Cstone. Part of me thinks it's silly. I look at them and think about how much effort they put into it all, and how much they "don't care what others think". But I've been (and sometimes still am) there too. And you do care. You care what others think, and that's why you do it. The other part of me gets sucked into it all, and I begin to wish I cared more, and that I had brought some of my crazier clothes along. Part of me wishes I had dreadlocks and wore flowy dresses and had a pretty embroidered side bag and lived in a commune, and was pretty much a hippie I guess. But I'm not. Oh sigh.