My tires matted the grass as I turned off the main road, into the middle of nowhere, also known as Long Hunter State park. From the moment I stepped out of my car, I could hear the mournful voice of a Native American flute winding its way through the trees and to my anxious ears. I had gotten a great parking spot by the entrance of the festival, and my first destination while there was the bleachers surrounding the small stage where the performance was taking place.
While walking through the clearing in the wood, I felt overcome with a sweet sadness I didn’t know how to reconcile. My soul wept with the sky in my loneliness, and yet I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Seeing the livelihood of a people who are too often invisible to me reminded me of my need to connect with nature, to bask in the beauty of the earth. Solitude has a way of doing that to you: of wringing your heart free of the shallowness of petty problems and leaving behind a core of raw emotion, an essence of what it means to be human.
I walked around the field for hours, visiting the different vendors and admiring their art. Not wanting to leave, yet not wanting to stay, I had to tear myself away like a child from her mother. Something inside me connected to this culture, to the stories, the traditions, the heartache. A connection which only a deep loneliness could reveal in its rugged beauty.