Clear and loving in Kentucky

Stephen R. Johgart (
Wed, 07 Jul 1993 18:35:06 -0700 (PDT)


I have returned. Six days in Kentucky at the Rainbow Gathering, a rather
unusual Gathering. The lack of many choreographed Rainbow traditions didn't
diminish the spirit of sharing and cooperation which are the heart of the
Rainbow experience. The signs of previous human occupation and exploitation
of the land didn't diminish the oneness with the Mother Earth which we learn
anew every summer. The absence of most Rainbow elders and gurus didn't
diminish the feeling of family closeness among the gatherers. The blockade
by the police and the Forest Service didn't diminish the determination to
express in action our right to peacable assembly. The Gathering in Kentucky
was a wondrous experience, and a true Gathering.

My feeling was that this was an apprenticeship for the generation which will
have to make Rainbow work in the future--without the old guard to lead the
way and do the do, folks who never thought much about what makes a Gathering
work found that they were the only ones there to make it happen, and rose to
the task. Main Circle may have eaten late, but food was always served. Kid
Village went on, and was filled with the joy of children and parents
together, cooking and eating and baking in the marvelous clay ovens. The
drums thundered and pulsed all night long, the sounds rolling off the canyon
walls and around my soul. My family was home; I was home.

There were some problems of course. My wife went to CALM one day and
overheard a call on the radio for a medical emergency. The CALM worker who
answered responded that he was sorry, but there were no medical folks on
duty, only regular Rainbows trying to patch up problems as best they could.
Fortunately, the person on the other end said it was ok, he guessed it
wasn't a real emergency anyway. One brother, a member of the local Michigan
family, had his van busted up by a drunk in the parking lot. However, the
alcohol energy at the Gathering was really minimal, and the little drinking
I saw was quite benign.

One day a military helicopter flew over, low, while I was walking with a
ten-year-old sister. "There's the government watching us again," I said. She
was quiet a minute, then asked, "Why are they watching us?" I found I had no
good answer. I told her I had no idea. Perhaps they are afraid of us because
we're different from typical American life. She said, "Oh."

I had heard ahead of time that the Gathering was all young Deadhead
burnouts, but I found that there were all ages of folks from all callings of
life, the real unity being the laughter and joy of being of one family for a
week at least.

I hope very much that the whole family will be reunited next year, and I
missed the family in Alabama, who I'm sure also had a dynamite week, but I
think this year of two tribes was a really good year for the future of
Rainbow Gatherings. I think there are now some young and new-old Rainbows
who know what makes a Gathering work, some of who will in the future be the
new Elders, one day to apprentice another new group. Without the changes and
the chances to learn for the next generation of High Holy Hippies, the
Gatherings can't go on. Alabama was continuity; Kentucky was hope.

I love my family! Peace to all, and to all a good night,


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