Dave Webster, one of Avalon's landowners, leads the Eclipse Ceremony Parade on August 21 to get us ready to view the eclipse. We're on the path of totality!
From a celestial wedding to finding my soul's home. Here's my journey.
The universe, as well as my “stuff”, has shifted with the total solar eclipse.
August 18th, mid-day. Here I am, arriving at the gate of Avalon, a beautiful piece of wooded land with a river and a lake in South Carolina. I’m getting ready to camp for four days to join Avalon’s Total Solar Eclipse Festival and my friends, Stacie and Art’s, wedding. Avalon is greeting me with a blue sky and bright sunshine. Emotionally, my own weather report is different. I’m navigating a romantic heartbreak.
Over three hundred people are expected to join in this celestial weekend and I won’t know anyone other than a handful of yoga-teacher-friends.
The first person I meet is Helme, a soft-spoken, handsome guy. He’s setting up what looks like a Middle Eastern campsite in the forest. “Is this your camp site? It’s huge,” I say. “Yes, people like to stop by so I make it nice.”
Helme offers to give me a tour of the land on his golf cart. I feel a soothing, healing energy from my new friend and the people that are setting up their camp here and there. The land itself, is also giving me great vibes. We stop in a shaded spot by the river and instantly I know that this is where my tent belongs.
Little by little, strangers arrive and set up their camps around mine. Michael, aka “Oz”, is experimenting with a hammock-tent extended between two trees. “Let’s see if this is better than sleeping on the ground.”
Have I ever shared that I’ve often, if not always, felt misplaced, mis-fitted—like an outsider? Being sensitive and a people-lover has done that. As a child, I always comforted the kid who was rejected. Growing up, I wanted to be a dancer or an actress. Back then I didn’t see who I was, so I gave up those dreams, one after the other, for a “responsible” job. In the corporate world, I was an “internal journalist” which meant I met people, asked them questions about who they were and what they did, and wrote their stories in company magazines. I managed to have a role helping people feel good—at least about their professional selves. On the personal level, I’ve always had a hard time imagining myself in a “traditional” life—you know, married in my twenties, my husband and I raising our kids. Instead, I married, later, a man with a big heart although, at the time, he saw little of who I was—someone who needs to share her soul, not so much the material life.
Back to Avalon. After two days of strolling from my camp “neighborhood” to the meadow, from the meadow to the waterfall, from the waterfall to Avalon’s social area, here I am dancing in front of the stage where an Atlanta band is performing. It’s almost midnight. My friend Gloria grabs my hand, “follow me, we’re all meeting at Helme’s.”
There’s a fire pit in the middle of the large tent, and seven maybe ten people lounging around it. A young woman, Emily Kate Boyd, an Atlanta singer and songwriter, is playing the acoustic guitar and singing a soft song. More people enter the tent as the night goes by. A man plays the flute, and before long, three women play the fiddle. All spread the space with magic. A woman stands up and dances around the fire. When a musician sings “A Horse with No Name” with his acoustic guitar, my feet propel me upwards. Here I am, dancing too. Here I am, feeling I’ve found my tribe. Zero excuse needed for being the way I am. Zero excuse needed for feeling the way I feel.
I came to Avalon to celebrate Stacie and Art’s love, see the total solar eclipse, and camp in nature. In the end, I realize I’ve found my home. How about that?