To behave like a child again. To believe in magic. To let go of time, forget about money, loose all sense of shame and embarrassment, but still take care of oneself. Radical self reliance is the concept. Everyone gives and everyone shares, but you are expected to take care of your basic needs and try to help out anyone when the opportunity arises. You make sure you are fed and sheltered and happy, then you explore a world where imagination and fun are fueled by fire and energy. Its a magical place. Magic and connection exist here. I felt magic and delight come together in an adult playground. There are swings that are built tall so that you can swing as high as you did when you were a child. There are all type of swings: long pendulums, various bench swings, a large circle swing suspended from the middle at the top that sways slowly in the wind, dancing to the constant drum beat from the loud camps, another circle swing, this one built for just one, hidden in the forest. There were all multitudes of hammocks, along the shore and floating on a barge in the lake. I got to swing in a tutu with a long scarf dragging behind me, as I sway high and twirl around the heavy chains, with my toes pointed and legs fashioned in sweeping grace. I also got to sway in my Indian princess dress, feeling like queen. Magical.
The swinging was one of my favorite parts. Another was a giant, throbbing pink heart that you could sit in. The heart was made out of thin wood with 4 cut-outs ranging from red to light pink. Behind each heart were rope lights that light up singularly, blinking backwards toward the largest inner heart. Afar in the darkness, the heart looked like it was throbbing. Behind the largest heart, there was a spot for two people to sit facing each other. There were two heart shaped pillows for each person, one for your back and out for your head. It was very peaceful in there. I had three great moments in there. One of the best moments was when that magical man appeared out of nowhere just to catch my eye. He light a cigarette and in the space between the cut-out hearts, his eyes smirked a fiery hello, greeted with my refreshing glaze. That twinkle is the magic that I seek. Its more than a sparkle, its a twinkle, a small yet hot spark.
The flame. Everywhere the flame. The cumulative burn is on the last night, when this giant, beautiful wooden structure is set ablaze, a literal burning of ideas and concepts that are your own personal restraint, a concept that can free one’s mind to behave again like a child. To not be burdened by stature, looks, dress code, financial status, popularity, skin or gender or sexuality, hair type, shoe size, breast size, pant size, style, trend level, emotional problems. Its less complicated then that. Its like when you were 6 and you wanted to wear mismatched cloths, your friends were all in the neighborhood and nobody had any idea what their parents did for money. Except here it is better, because you know who you are and how to take care of oneself. Its magical.
Aside from the magnificent and epic burning of the effigy, fire is a constant theme throughout the camps. It is embodied in many shapes, but mostly coming hot and fast through iron pipes. Some spit fire balls high into the air, the heat being felt strongly below. Some are laced close to the ground, circling the dance floor. Some are the top of an art sculpture. Another interpretation of flame was slinking along a black ceiling, creating a fire flower affect. There were fires in iron barrels that had stencils cut out identifying the camp. Of course there was a fire pit at the camp ground, which was the base for our camp home.
I felt a smirk of magic there, and I hope to keep some of that feeling here in the real world. I left that magic man in the fairy tale, because its best to end at the last page in the story. I will take home the simplicity and the whimsical, the content to not want anymore that what the imagination can provide.