Several years ago, we decided to have a womyn’s music festival on 80 acres of pine tree farm in Wayland, MI. The pine tree farm is owned by a lovely friend. She gifted us the (almost) unlimited use of her property.
Her home sits in one corner of the 80 acres. Her rental home sits close to the road next to hers. The rest of the property is divided into 20 acres portions. Where her home is one twenty acre plot. Then her rental home has another 20 acre plot. The field is 20 acres. The next pine portion is another 20 acres. Roughly.
When we first got the property to use, we spent a lot of time riding the trails finding the paths. I thought it was really important to find the paths. Or rather the paths would find me. While everyone was very familiar with the paths and the lanes and the routes and the trails at Michfest in Hart. We were creating a brand new space. Creating from all of the beautiful chaos of the trees, scrub, overgrowth, poison ivy, and rot, a new and fresh festival space. This was going to be a space that we got to define (and now we are refining!).
I drove the paths.
I crashed through the paths.
I crashed my golf cart through trees like it was a four wheel drive gator. I crashed through scrub and brush and just kept going. My passenger and I would always come home with some tree and whip marks on our arms or faces from crashing through and letting the paths find me.
My passengers were not always happy with me. But we had so many hard belly, almost pee your pants laughs out in the woods, finding the trails. And I broke a lot of golf carts. I pissed off the mechanics. But I still kept doing it because I loved those trails. They were calling to me and I only had that vehicle. The trails made me do it.
We raced our golf carts and found the name of Tata Trail! When making a quick turn at the end of the path to finalize my amazing victory over Venice in the next row over in her golf cart a dear sweet sister (we miss you Marcia!) almost got flung out of my cart. I saved her by grabbing her and hanging on tight to her right in the tata area!!! Lo and behold, Tata Trail!
I learned a lot in those paths. Patience to find and clear the path were not easy. There were so many thorns. There were so much wood to cut, chip, move, stack, haul, burn, so much freaking wood.
There was also a lot of pain. There was pain between me and my partner. We were so stressed and so ill equipped to handle and manage our stress, our business, our relationship, creation of a space, and production of a festival. It was a fuck ton of pain. We still are working on healing from those hurts.
There were a lot of lessons. I learned humility that year of clearing paths. I learned perseverance in that endless pursuit of clearing a path to a brighter way with clarity. I learned to forgive. I learned to ask for help. I learned.
All of those lessons continue in 2019, Year of the Mother. I will continue to pursue clearing a stronger and more clear path, just another way of saying work smarter not harder. But that first year of shaping and creating the space were the hardest and the most painful. Now the space is created and we can hold and shape the space. We can make it prettier. We can make it smoother. We can find newer and more efficient ways to do it. And we are. Personally and professionally, things are getting better, smoother, more refined, and beautiful.
It took the major overhaul and cutting to get to the inner beauty. It was worth in the woods and it’s worth it in me. I have done some many “cutting and clearing” in myself, finding new ways to manage stress, anger, and conflict resolution while at the same time learning and improving my hard skills such as using power tools, doing maintenance, and cleaning up after a job. I am happy to be always improving and striving to be more skilled and diversified.