Saturday, September 27, 2008

Winfield I: After the Flood

This was my tenth year to attend the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. This decade of experience has taught me to pack for the “three seasons of Winfield:” hot, cold, and rainy. It's hot during the day (mid 80s this year), and cool in the evening (low 50s). It typically rains Friday or Saturday, often torrential rains. This year, the rain came the week before the official beginning of the festival.

A few words of explanation are in order: the Festival takes place on the county fairgrounds (Winfield is the county seat of Cowley County). I have been told these grounds constitute a square mile. The grounds include two groves of trees (commonly called Pecan and Walnut) where people camp. The Walnut Valley River meanders around the border of these grounds.

So, when the rains came Sept. 11 & 12, the river began flooding. I was told there is a dam upstream which needed to be opened, in order to avoid flooding the town. The combination of rain and opened dam caused the river to crest to ~32 ft. The festival grounds are low-lying, and were flooded.

Pecan Grove, 9/18/08
Part of Pecan Grove Thursday morning, Sept. 18, about a week after the flood

People who had arrived to early were evacuated. Some went to near-by Oxford (about 10 minutes west of Winfield). The group I normally camp with went to Winfield City Lake, about 30 minutes north-east of town.

I heard heart-warming stories of how local farmers used their tractors to help pull campers out of the mud. How grateful campers performed for the retirement home in Oxford.

As I say, I was at Winfield City Lake, about 30 minutes away. Another way the city pitched in to help was by providing shuttle service to and from the remote camping areas. The bus ride from the lake was a little over 30 minutes long.

A very different experience from being able to walk over to a concert, then walk back to camp. One had to plan ahead. Plus, I had to take into account the poor night-time visibility at the lake, and the challenge of finding my way back from the bus stop, at the Marina, to where I was camped — maybe an eighth mile as the crow flies, but a little further by foot.

In the end, I only went to the fairgrounds to hear music three times. It was on the first trip that I heard the Wiyos, whose video is posted below. I also saw Stephen Bennett, who I always enjoy. On Friday, I saw Beppe Gametta, Italian finger-style and flat picking whiz; and the Kenny & Amanda Smith band, which was better than you might imagine.

Four good acts, and one exceptionally bad one (who shall go unnamed). This was worth $80?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Depak on Palin

I'm no fan of Depak Chopra, but he has an essay on how Sarah Palin is the Shadow (in Jungian terms) of Barack Obama, which seems somewhat worthwhile. Some money quotes:
  • she "deride(s) his idealism and turn(s) negativity into a cause for pride"
  • "Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat."
In a follow-up essay, Chopra makes clear that Democrats could have an unhealthy response to Palin: "Reacting to Palin with fear, confusion, panic, and lashing out also comes from the shadow."

Read the two essays, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Song for the 2nd Great Depression

This is one of the few groups I heard at Winfield this year, The Wiyos. Hadn't heard them before, but I'm now a fan.

They mentioned "the 2nd Great Depression" when they introduced this tune. I wonder if Ms. Pit Bull was in the audience?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coming Attractions

I recently returned from my visit to the Walnut Valley Festival (aka, "Winfield"). I have the goal of writing some about this year's experience sometime within the next week.

In the meantime, here you see some notes toward that entry (written in my Moleskine Notebook ®) along with an unused Camping Permit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Haiku: 20.Sept.08

Mowing the lawn
ahead of the rain.
What am I to do
with all these mushrooms?

This is intended as an "American Haiku", as defined by Jack Kerouac (my mentor in eternity)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fungus Among Us

This lone 'shroom appeared in my front yard a little over a week ago. This shot reflects how it looked Sunday morning; as of last night, it had grown larger, with some brown. Really a mutant, compared to other mushrooms that have appeared in my yard in the past.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Self Portraits

This is how I looked Saturday morning, 6.Sept.08. I always try to catch myself off-guard. The expression seems to me that of a man with some private secret. What gnosis do I suppose I hold? None at all, my dears; none at all.

And this is how I appeared this morning, about 30 minutes prior to heading to church.

Some years ago, Rusty N. owned what we called a "magic" hat. The magic of that hat was that it looked good on anyone who wore it. It was a black felt hat, similar to this one.

This gray hat seems to be magic as well. Days when I wear it, everyone who passes me smiles and often comments on what a nice hat it is. What you don't see here – I'll try to capture it on another day – is the small colorful feather on the left side.

As for my expression here, it is that of someone concentrating on holding the remote shutter release at just the right angle. As for that cocked right eyebrow, there is little I can say. I started cocking it, unconsciously, at some point during high school, and it got stuck that way. Let this be a lesson to you, children!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Toward the Equinox

Summer burns away the last of its days like campfire memories.
Let's watch the flames turn into poem banners.
Let's float our dreams on the wings of monarch butterflies.
The sun dips lower in the morning, hides behind buildings it once challenged.
The light dons the quality of soft rain, blowing from all directions.
Afternoon shadows bend toward the equinox,
then lengthen onto your bed
where a gray cat
sleeps on an Indian Blanket.

A Corner of My World

“Don't seek reality. Just put an end to opinions.”
— Seng-Ts'an

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunflower, 08.Aug.16

This sunflower stands at least a foot above my head. It is growing on the western side of Venice Blvd, a block away from my house.