Every year my desire to attend the fair declines as our departure date looms. By the time we're packing the van I'm cursing the fair and doubting my own sanity. It's alot of work. And it's very easy to forget the intangible reasons for attending. In fact, it's hard to write about them even now, a few weeks past.
At first glance the OCF seems like any fair or festival we do--we set up shop, sell our wares, meet customers, hear some music, take in the sights, maybe see some old friends. What makes the fair so different?
Most of the folks involved with OCF are not there to make money (not that anything is wrong with commerce--it provides a vital structure, a skeleton as it were, for everything else). Instead we get to experience a beautiful outpouring, an explosion really, of creative self expression---of music, costuming, performance, altars, dance and general weirdness. People spend days, weeks or months preparing their offering--many many people do this. And some of the offerings are pretty mind blowing!
And many more folks just respond to the wonderful atmosphere of openness by letting go with some unplanned contribution to the scene--be it a big smile, a song, a compliment to a stranger, dancing at the drum tower, joining a parade or having a deep and timely and unexpected conversation.
This outpouring of expression is intense and for me it is intensely nourishing. I come away filled up, inspired. The richness of the scene, the fantastic quantity and quality of trippy experiences, overwhelms my poor old dried up day to day consciousness like a fertile flood replenishing the fields of my life.
And the question comes up--why can't we live more like this all the time? Why don't we have more time for making music and art and cooking and playing and making offerings? Why must we chase those dollars and why do we let the machine catch hold of us? Why does it cost so much to rent a house in Sonoma County? Let alone buy a place to build up our life on.
My life time seems so precious today, I'm glad I could share some of it with you.