Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tell Em That It's Human Nature

Understand that we have good reason for ending our journey at Blissfest: : : :  we get down.   I’d like to adequately describe it for you, but I can’t convey the whole concept through words.  I’d have to dance it.  Okay, I’ll try with words.

Gordy, Stuart, then Katie
Bliss is a happy festival.  Some of it’s in a field, and some of it’s in the woods; there’s good music and good people.  And all things good.

My first Bliss was three years ago.  I don’t know exactly why I decided to go.  It was probably a combination of my sister Emily’s description of her adventures there the previous year (Maybe, we’ll ask her to give her testimonial.) and Stuie.  Members of Stuie’s family had been going for years.  He had never gone, but he knew how dope it was, and he encouraged me to go with him. 

So me and Coop (you’ll get to know Coop, our peaceful ginger gorgeous friend through other stories) drove down to Saginaw to pick Stuie’s ass up.  Then we drove to East Lansing to meet up with Gordy, Stuie’s brother, and Katherine, Stuie’s brother’s wife, and Katie, Stuie’s brother’s wife’s husband’s sister.  And Mercy Sakes Alive! it looked like we had ourselves a convoy. 

(Well, we shot the line; we went for broke with a thousand screaming trucks and eleven long-haired-friends-of-Jesus and a chartreuse micro-bus.)

In about ten minutes or so, we were driving past the hundreds of tents and campers and nearing the Bliss entrance.  We drove in, rolled down the window for the ticket taker, and heard that beneficent greeting for the first time, “Happy Bliss.”  We were happy and blissful.  When people say, “Happy Bliss,” they mean it.  It’s not like the hollow “Have a good one” that sometimes spills out from people that pass on the sidewalk at Hope.  Nah, people at Bliss want you to have a happy bliss.  It’s a salutation, a blessing, and an understanding.  It feels good to hear and say.

Now, that was an intro.  I’ll stop describing Bliss ’08 because this was the only year Stuie attended.  I’ll save it for him, if he’s in to it.  (No pressure, Stuie.  I just don’t want to be a story hog.)  I’ve gone back each year since, and each festival has been a different beautiful.

A few weeks ago, I had an assignment to go into Hope’s Career Services to talk about strengths.  I went, and, after impressing the counselor with my deltoids and flactoids, she asked, “What was one of your happiest moments in life?”  Bliss.  

So I described for Trudy the last performance on the third stage on Saturday night just this last summer.  The third stage is small and personal and the artists look at you when they speak and sing to you when they sing.  Emily, Coop, everbody, and I arrived early so that we could find a good spot to sit.  We sat in front and ate chocolate-covered-cheesecake-on-a-stick while the openers opened.  Then May Erlewine and Seth Bernard played.  We dig them.  They sing sincerely.  Other performers played with them, too.  The tap dancer and fiddler were pringles.  The lead guy from the band Steppin’ in It played the keyboard and wore a fedora.  Real good.  It was obvious that a few members of our posse developed a small crush on him that night.  Yeah, I had a mancrush on him after that, too, for a bit.  But May.  Daisy May does this smile-bodyshake maneuver when she emphasizes a note on the guitar which is worth writing about (see what I did there?).  She looks so joyful when she does it; it makes everyone else joyful, too.  Seth was grinning and waddling around, swinging his guitar and Moses beard.  They finished.  

The opener came on for a feel good closing song.  He had that tall, lumberjack look.  I can’t remember, exactly, but I want to say that he had red hair, but it wasn’t as pretty as Coop’s.  He started singing “I would walk 500 hundred miles…” and a few lines into the song our friend Sam got up to dance, then everybody was dancing, smiling, laughing.  Dancing our shit off, getting so down with our badselves, and…

We’re back to my need to explain things using dance.

Bliss '09 Drum Kiva; photo by Jose Silva

1 comment:

  1. Ha, it's funny you mention the chocolate cheesecake sticks. One of my good friends actually goes to Bliss every year to sell those things. I'm disappointed I haven't had the opportunity to try one. They sound amazing