Saturday, 14 April 2012

Free WiFi in the Ashram Desert

As I watch the dirty water run down the drain in the shower I cant help but think that that was one of life's great memories that would never be fully explained through words or pictures. The luke warm waterburns my face as the droplets fall. I think I'm sunburnt. In fact I know I am. The discoloured pigmentation of my skin is just another reminder. My feet are cracked and broken, possible stained forever with the remaints of rocky terrain and scratches from the beauty that is the Ashram Dessert.
We left on a good note, but as I lay on my bed now I want nothing more than to beback in the dessert with my friends and not here in the chaotic whirlwind of people through the enclosed structure we call home. I want nothing more than to be singing songs about nothing on the patchy grass. I want nothing more than the smell of dirt and sweat that has built up over a weeks worth of not showering. I want nothing more than to have woken up under the trees with hundreds of sleeping boddies around me.

There is a slight twinge in my heart when I realise that is no longer an option.

Zorba The Buddah Festival

Tuesday 10 April 2012
Day One:

I woke with a start, after only four hours of sleep from the eventfull night of Hippie Pants and Gangstah Hats that kept Rebekkah and myself up till the early hours of the morning.  It was cold and my hair was wet. Groggily I forced myself out of bed, a thrill building up inside me. I pulled on my hippie pants from the night before and grabbed a jersey just incase. We had a 6 hour bus ride, including a change over, ahead of us. At first we thought we would be able to sleep on the bus, not realising we had to watch to get off at the right stop, Rebekkah kept herself awake by telling me stories about her life and braiding my hair. Needless to say that when I stepped off the bus in the middle of the desert, I looked like I belonged at a dessert hippie festival. I felt at home.

The gate to The Zorba the Buddah festival was an archway, the ribbons attached to it gently billowing in the wind . Just inside was a large area of grass. People were scattered everywhere, and there was a constant hum of chater, mixed with all different music. If you lay on the grass you could tune in and out of the different melodies.

In record timing we set up two tents. One overly large one that was a green and orange monstrosity. The other a generic silver and blue one. I felt like as soon as you walked inside you could time travel back to medieval times.

We spent the next five hour's waiting on the Brits to arrive, asleep on The White. I woke up to a group of people in a large circle singing along to a scruffy man and his old battered guitar.

I could feel the heat from my hand over my heart as the Zorba Tzevet told us to breath deeply. I felt my chest rising and falling with my own breathing. I felt the beat of the music through the ground and through my body as I sat with hundreds of other people all feeling the same thing. Standing up in smaller groups of strangers, we chose a leader who did movements and we all copied him. We shouted out noises and danced around in the circle. We went on a journey through movement and sounds. A cool trail across my forehead and over the bridge of my nose was soothing in the heat. 

Up; down; left; right; a figure of eight; a wink and a smile. The sage smoke curling up into nothingness.

We ate lunch and had a brief inerlude with Naomis guitar on The Grass.

An old women in a red dress aproached us.
"Shalom. Mi medaberet Ivrit?" She asked us in a gentle voice.
Naomi responded by telling here that she spoke Hebrew, but all her friends were English. "Ani medaberet, kulam lo mebrabrim Ivrit. Englit."
She invited us to the opening ceremony of her Red Tent.
We gingerly walked over to the mysterious Red Tent. It was on the far side of The Grass. The whole tent was red. There were red lights hung over the circle or missmatched red cussions, women already sitting. Waitng. We sat down, and my eyes adjusted to the growing dim of the Dessert at night. There were red dresses and lingerie hung up on the white material walls of the tent. In the middle was a circle of stones, all different sizes and colours, and a large red candle. There was a small statuette of a woman that facinated me as m eyes travelled around the Red Tent.

The burning stick of sage that she used to welcome and bless us left a trail in its wake that swirled up to the night sky. It made me dizzy to watch but I couldn't look away from the grey swirls.
The length of red string that is now tied around my wrist, along with all my other braclettes is a constant reminder of my first ever Womens Circle. A wrap for ever generation of women in your family. A piece of history on my arm.

Ani Kathryn, Bat Yael, Bat Ima h'Adamah. (I'm Kathryn, Daughter of Jennifer, Daughter of Mother Earth)

Sitting in the circle listening to the kinds of inspireing women that these women had as their parents put me in a reflective mood on my relationship with my mother. Later talking to one of the other girls, she must have been about twenty, I expressed my love for my own mother and how she managed to raise two pretty decent kids on her own. We spoke about how we would feel being mothers and the hardships that they must encounter from their kids. I remembered that one time, just before I left, when I went for breakfast with my mom, and it suddenly hit me that I was leaving and finnished with school. She told me something that I will probably never forget and what was, probably, the reason I wanted to fix things. She said: "We've been fighting so much that I've missed years of your life" It scard me to hear that. I expressed something that she said she had only realised in her later years, wich was me realising that our parents are real people, with real personalities and that my Mom, in particular, is a strange; funny; free spirited lady who is a strong woman and that motivates us to be the greatest people we can be. She never stops believing in us and always encourages us to do better.

The most intraspective conversation.

Lights invaded my eyes even though they were closed. Music penetrated my sould as we jumped and swayed to the jazz trance at the main stage. You could hear the Aussies all chanting stupid things and mockingly Rebekkah and I chanted "USA! USA!" We vowed to avoid large groups of Australians from then on.

I wouldn't call what I did that night sleeping. The ground was covered in small rocks and the tent didn't exactly fit six people in it comfortably. It would be the last time I slept there.

Wednesday 11 April 2012
Day Two:

I awoke before anyone else in my tent. I changed into clean clothes and drank almost a litre of water to stop the highly possible chance of dehydration. I waited until everyone else was awake and brushed my teeth. Relief. I hate not brushing my teeth. After a breakfast of Matzah and Chocolate spread we checked the board for sessions to go to, deciding that a Journey through Gypsy Dance in the Movement Tent would be a great way to start the day.
We had some time to chill before and we met up with Gal and Byron. We chatted about our plans for the day and decided to meet later. There was some hand shaking and introductions to Rabbi Reverend Yonnie Genende and we went our separate ways.

The session was by far my favorite of all the ones I did.
We started off by stretching and feeling the earth. We eventually progressed into Gypsy Dancemoves and felt our way through it, with use of our bodies and our breathing. The Insructer was a beautiful Spanish women with big eyes. She looked a little like Elrita and I wanted to be her.

Peoples shoes lay discarded at the edge of the Main Stage while they danced and I took photographs. This would mark my first (and slightly dredded) conversation with Ari.

His voice was rough and husky while she played a beautiful melody. Her hair fire-y red and his a golden blonde. He spoke his words softly and she whislted along without hesitation. The words were made up on the spot. There has never been anything more genuine than the spark that egnited a whirlwind romance of three days between the two of them. His words penetrated everyones ears as his friends watched on, impressed, but not surprised. Barely looking up from their game of Gin, played with Elvis cards. She was fixated. Alive. A sparkle in her eye reminicent of something long forgotten or only dreamed about on cold lonely nights.
They kissed goodbye on the last night, with hopes to meet again soon.

Thursday 12 April 2012
Day Three:

Naomis Birthday:

Her friends spoilt her with gifts from home and a surprise dinner. Her little face was so happy and smiling. I could only wish for friends that care that much for me and would do such lovely things for a friend on theit birthday. A friend-y kind of love. It was beautiful.

Rebekkah and I had a crash course in Kung Foo an fell asleep during the Live Music Meditation.
We lay on a blanket on The Grass for ages just chatting to ALL the Australians and making friends.

Friday April 13 2012
Day Four:

We spent most of the day eating Garanim on The Grass and talking excitedly about things. The guitar passed from one person to the other and the world was filled with singing and melodies. Ari and I took a walk in the desert. There were conversations and towers built with rocks as we made lists of Pro's and Con's, deciding that being friends was beter for everyone. That it makes Lily and Gal happy should have been the only argument. we lay under the sky, tangled in a thorn bush for quite a while.

"What if the sky starts right where the ground stops, so we're all live in the sky anyway?"

We walked back in solomn silence, with only a few words puncturing the space between us at irregular intervals. I cried for a while in my tent. Not about the Brittish Drama, but because I felt as though I had made the wrong decision. I missed my mom, I missed my friends, I missed not being tired and I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep, and to have someone hold me and keep me safe. I missed my feet not hurting and I wanted something warm to eat to make me feel okay again.

Dinner, and Chai Tea and Cake. Rebekkah and I could never have been happier. We ate our Malawach with smiles on our faces. 

We packed up the tent. I spent a good two hours looking for my shoes, but Ari found them in the dessert somewhere.