Friday, June 29, 2007

Here at the Gathering

I drove here to River Falls with a Friend early this afternoon. I pitched two tents for me, Youngest Daughter and her friend, got registered, and am getting settled. One treat was seeing fellow-bloggers Chris and Robin M and Linda waiting outside the registration hall. And then other old Friends, too. It felt a little like a gathering of wizards in a Harry Potter story.

I've been itching to get here for several days. I've done all the preparation I can do for my workshop and for the evening plenary sessions (I'm co-clerk of the evening program committee) and now I want to do it. Getting the tents pitched was big. We're in almost exactly the same spot we camped in 1998 when, after arriving a day early in the expectation of getting settled in before the Big Day, a tremendous storm hit, 4 or 5 inches of rain in as many hours, with thunder, lightening, and wind all night long, the four of us huddled in our large but tight L.L. Bean tent and our three friends next to us. The next morning, we were dry, if tired, but the people who were camping where they were supposed to be (we'd squatted where we were used to camping at Northern YM instead of going to the official FGC campsites) were under 3 inches of water. Our cars were flooded to the floorboards, the south branch of the Kinnikinick River having swollen from romantic creek to raging river through the parking lot. It was a wonderful adventure, but tonight I'd be happy with a quiet, boring sleep.

My heart has a new heaviness that is coloring my mood. Lovely Wife's mother, who has lived with us since 1999 has been on Lummi Island in Washington with L.W.'s sister since mid-May. A call came last night reporting that it appears that she is developing what may be a fatal infection. Lovely Wife and sister Holly have been on the phone, discussing travel arrangements, which are complicated by three of us being at FGC and L.W. going to Brussels, Belgium, for a conference for two weeks and another brother and his family on their way to Australia in a few days for six months. . . .

But all that is uncertain for now. At the moment, I'm watching Quakers trickle into the student center with that first-night bewildered look they'll have until they're oriented and situated. I love them all.

I'll let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

Chris M. said...

It was good to see you, too. I love the Harry Potter comparison! I think it's apt.

-- Chris M.