Wakarusa: Part 1

I wanna thank you, the nameless energy that has entered my life in the last couple of the years. The energy that has allowed me these amazing connections and opportunities. Some times I feel guilty because of how lucky I feel. I try to remain humble, keep thanking, and loving freely. I hope you keep winking at us. I'll keep looking and blushing everytime I catch your love. Namaste.

I'd also like to thank you. We have such a small amount of attention to spend each day. You honor me by giving these words some of yours. I hope to reward the attention you paid with genuine thoughts, hopefully some smiles, and, if I'm lucky, a little sense of the love and adventure we experienced this past week. 

Wakarusa feels ephemeral, like a dream. My intention is to wrap my linguistic net around her and bring a part of the experience into the material. This has become one of my rituals. I enjoy it. I love you. Okay, lets start.

The first day of Wakarusa was the longest. We arrived at the top of the Arkansas mountain a little after midnight. Our tribe's convoy was three vehicles, 11 beautiful people deep. We were 3 of hundreds of cars being funneled through a large open field. Cars were searched, tagged, and guided to camping grounds. Our group was split up amongst the chaos, which queued a motif that resonated through our entire trip; we worked as a team to find, communicate, and reunite with each other. Dreds bouncing, cell phones ringing, and lovingly worried chatter filled our first four hours of Wakarusa processing. We made it. Drake was quoted frequently.

Once reunited at the campground, we started setting up camp. All three cars were parked next to each other and we used five tents each facing a common space in the middle to create a little town square between our tents. We put up a pavilion and chairs, coolers and tarps, and finished well after the sun had risen. Our first seven hours of Wakarusa were over and we could sleep.

"Fuck naw," said the sun. We all slept about two hours before we were awakened by our sweat charging aggressively into our eyes. Mama Waka had plans for us. Sleep was not one.

To give a little background, Wakarusa is a festival in Arkansas thats set atop a mountain in Ozark. At the top of this mountain is a little plateau a couple of acres wide. This is where the festival is held. All around the trees hug the sides.

I was the first one up, as I waited for my family to waka up too, I wrote a little. This was is my notebook from the first morning;

 "Thursday morning. Tired. No one will be sleeping. Napping is the best we can hope for. Feels crowded. A lot is unknown. Today will be a day of exploration and lessons. I've slept maybe 4 hours. Probably not. A part of me feels my softness, my dependence on comfort. Lets exercise that muscle." 

This captures the essence of Waka for me. We were never comfortable. Everyday was a mild ordeal. This is my kind of vacation. As a group we were challenged by nature and ourselves, everyday some grew a little, others grew a lot. Mama Waka was teaching us.

That first day, once everyone was awaka and we all shared our similar discomfort and weather analysis, we explored.

Personally, I get bored when I get to parts in books where the author spends a couple pages explaining the way a place looked, so please allow me to be brief. Waka was large, crowded, held 5 stages, dozens of food and merchandise vendors, and a lot of foul smelling portapotties. We explored Waka that day and headed back to camp for the first real adventure. Sharing MDA among 11, then 13, friends.