Michfest is over but I have my new life because of it. I only went to the last one, but it changed everything . I could not go back to my old life after finding it. I only knew I was leaving the life I had before. I started packing, started planning, started envisioning what I wanted for myself.
Then I sat down and read my book. I made this book from my Animal Speak guide by Ted Andrews. At Michfest I started asking all the workers, the performers, the crafts womyn to sign the book. I asked them to let the book give them a reading and then write. Write whatever your heart desires. Many wrote about their last michfest, or what it meant to them. Some wrote about their reading and how it related to their experience, their day, that time. I never asked the festies to sign because I really did not know any. I was a worker, I drove Dottie and I stayed after and helped take down michfest.
It was the best days of my life, being there. I did not know it at the time but I met my new life partner there as well. I met Tracy one night while waiting at night stage. Ferron was playing and it was late. My day had already been so long and I was looking forward to just sitting for a bit to catch a song or two. Not ten minutes into my “break” a woman pushing a wheelchair pulled up and asked if she and her friend could board.
“Of course!” So I let down the gate for the chair lift and got the first womyn safely situated. The other womyn came up to the stairs and I waited for her to get in. She tried and I realised quickly she also needed help. So I lifted her up and took her things from her. Such a simple thing.
Two womyn sitting in the back of the bus asked me if I was the womyn who had danced naked all over the Land. “Yes, that was me!” Then Tracy, whipped her head around and asked “That was you?!” “Yes it’s me with my clothes on!”
That is how we met! She came over and hugged me and I hugged her back, picked her off her feet and grabbed her ass! Other womyn started entering the bus and others needed a lift on to Dottie as well. Finally on the road with a full load of festie womyn, Tracy stayed behind me and rubbed my shoulders the entire time I drove. When I dropped her off by the RVs I got off and chatted with her. We made a date to meet after my shift that night. It would be late, after midnight. She told me where her teepee tent was, just up the hill from the Womyn Of Color tent, on the edge of dart.
Well I worked later than I thought and by the time I went looking for her tent it was so late. I searched all over the place where she said she lived but I could not find her. I traipsed through womyn’s yards and asked groups hanging outside their tents. No one seemed to know where this teepee was. I finally gave up after about an hour searching.
That was Saturday night. The next day while working I saw her again. We made another date. I would meet her at the Closing Ceremony later that day, after my work shift. Excited to finally spend some time with her, I rushed and took a shower. I arrived late once again and how was I going to find her in a sea of womyn?! The show had already started, so quietly I made my way down the left side of the hill, skirting the crowd. I thought since she was from dart she would be in the front. So I found my way down to the dart area and sat for a while. I searched as much as I could but I never did find Tracy.
Why was it so hard to meet up with this womyn?! I was so frustrated and yet I was still working. Monday came and it was load out day. I saw her in the crowd at Dart waiting for her turn to load out. We hugged and I told her I would meet her again. I had such a strong sense that I would but had no idea how.
Later in the afternoon I was up at shuttle base, waiting for my assignment. Someone else was driving Dottie and they needed me for another vehicle. So I waited. All of a sudden there she was, standing in front of me and holding a baby in her arms. My heart melted and right then and there I fell madly in love with this womyn. I did not know who she was, what she was like or really much about her. All I knew is that we had an intense connection. I told her I had just got my assignment and had to leave. That was the last time I saw her at Michfest.
I had brought my book with me for others to sign that day. I had never asked a festie to sign the book but I left it with my “boss” at shuttle base. I told her if a womyn named Tracy comes up, give her the book and tell her to sign it!
As I was driving the van to pick the sprouts and their moms up with a van, I saw her out in the sea of womyn loading out. I yelled to her “TRACY SIGN MY BOOK!” I yelled to her to go to the base and get the book. The mother, whose baby Tracy was carrying, heard me. She told Tracy I was calling her. Tracy yelled back OKAY!
That was it. Later I looked to see if she had signed the book but I could not find it. I guess she had not gotten the chance to write in it.
A month later, back in NY I sat and decided to thoroughly read the entries. When I was done, I saw the last page, the blank page,that was where she had written. She left her phone number and her email address and wrote a really intimate response. Well hell if I am going to email her!. I decided right then I would call her.
She had almost given up on me. She was shocked that I finally called. We talked for a long time. She told me she had left her lover of 10 years after arriving home from Michfest. Wow! I did not even know she had a partner but was relieved she was single again. She needed help moving her furniture out of her old home. I was available! It turned out the flights were cheap and so I went to New Mexico. I had no idea where she lived when I called her. Someone had told me she was from Texas. Well it turns out she was from Texas but now lived in NM.
So yes I helped her move out of her ex’s house and I stayed for 10 glorious days.
I had been single for seven years , not really wanting another relationship. That all changed after michfest. So many other things happened at Michfest.
The first day of fest I was painted by Jane. She painted me from head to toe and all in between! It took her three and half hours to paint me. We had the best time and I have never experienced anything so erotic without actually having sex! Yes Jane painted me EVERYWHERE!
When Jane was finally finished with me, I felt like a new womyn! I had to dance!! So I did. I danced all day and evening until my shift started at 8pm! The next day I danced some more and the day after that I still had my paint on but most of it had faded. Tracy had told me she had watched me over the days of fest, dancing around and on stage at Opening Ceremonies. She had no idea who I was but looked for me everywhere she went. She says, I was Michfest for her. Imagine that, being someone’s michfest.
One other womyn also said those words to me the day she was loading out. She came up to me while I was loading Dottie that last day of festies. She was sobbing and asked if she could hug me one last time. She said I was the face of Michfest for her. I had loaded her in and she had the most wonderful time on the bus singing songs and laughing together. It did not take much for a bus load of festies to start singing, laughing, hugging. I hugged many of the womyn who rode Dottie . I told them how beautiful they all were and I was so thankful to be there with them, because I was.
I did not get to see most of the concerts or go to more than one workshop, but still, my experience working, helping, being part of that group of womyn dedicated to giving their heart and soul to this land we all called “HOME”, was the best job I ever had. I met my new love there too, imagine that!
After spending 10 days with Tracy I knew I had to find a way to be with her. She was not ready to live with anyone or even have a full-time girlfriend again. I said the same of course. I wanted to travel and visit womyn’s land across the nation, maybe even in other countries. I had been invited to Australia, To Wales and to womyn’s lands from California to the Carolinas. That was what I had intended to do when I left Michfest. I was going to change my life. I had no idea how but somehow I would find some womyn’s land to make my own.
Tracy had never heard of womyn’s land. She had no idea any existed in NM. I knew I would find some womyn’s land near Albuquerque and live nearby. That would work for both of us. She was highly skeptical and had no idea how “we” would work. I had faith and trusted that Spirit had not got me this far to not help me out.
I went online to find land in NM. I asked the Michfest Facebook womyn about land. Several of them told me about a Land Directory. I looked up the directory and somehow I found NM land and the first place listed Jae. Womyn’s land, not far from Santa Fe. Imagine that!
I emailed Jae and we connected! I arranged to call her and the rest is history. I decided to visit for Thanksgiving and go visit with Tracy. That is exactly how it happened. Tracy and I drove out to stay for a weekend, stopping in Santa Fe to visit Jae first. She is taking care of her mom who has Alzheimer’s. They live in a one room motel room so they can both be close to doctors.
After Tracy and I decided that the Land was the perfect place for me, now it was my turn to figure out how to get there in a timely manner. Jae needed me there yesterday. We found the Land mostly struggling to keep the place up and running. Most of the womyn were gone. Only two womyn lived there and only one full-time. Eventually she moved on before I actually arrived to stay. Tracy took it upon herself to start going to the Land before I could move. She would go out every weekend and clean up.
Now I had to figure out how to get there. After finding out that my truck was toast, I needed to find a creative solution. I decided to see if I could get a ride with a michfest syster going out west. Everyday I had womyn trying to help. I said I would be driving and was looking to stay with systers along the way. I also needed a ride now, since my truck was not an option any longer. Candace , a good friend of Amoja’s, helped me out.
Amoja Three Rivers was an elder of Michfest who had just passed after Thanksgiving. She was another syster I had connected with at Michfest for the very first time. We had plans to visit one another in the coming months. That of course never happened and many will miss her. Amoja is one of the founders of the Tent for Womyn of Color.
Candace put the word out on several pages of Michfest systers. She said I needed a ride with all my stuff, across country to NM. Who can help? Then others got involved and someone suggested a relay where one womyn might take me from one state to the next.
Several womyn wanted to help out and said they could do this state or that state. I was so thankful for my Tribe! Finally, one womyn from Boston, Liz, posted that she may be able to drive me all the way! “Contact me!” So I did.
Liz ended up driving down to Long Island. She stayed for the night and we got a late start the next day. I had to say goodbye to my daughter who lived with my ex. I waited until she got out of school and Liz drove me over to see her. I am so thankful for Liz in so many ways. Without her…..well let’s just say she was my angel sent by the Michfest Goddesses.
We started out with two dogs, a Prius loaded from ceiling to floor. On top of all the luggage, blankets, pillows, food, there was just enough room for two dogs to crawl into a bed. We were lucky that they got along so well! It was tight quarters all the way to NM. Along the way we stayed with Michfest systers. Pittsburgh, Ohio, St Louise… we had a blast and for the most part had a fantastic time. Liz got to have a road trip and visit Outland. She stayed longer than she had anticipated and then went on to travel for an entire month more. She hooked up with her friend Sue from Alaska and they went traveling on.
So here I am……
There is nothing like this Land. It was built by womyn for womyn over 25 years ago. It sits on 1000 acres of wild animal preserve. We are the stewards of this sacred land and everyday I thank the Goddess who helped me find it. Tracy comes out 3-4 days a week and some day, when the land makes enough funds for her to be here as well, she will.
I look forward to the days she can come, but we stay busy on the land, working to make the adobe casitas livable again. I drive the land’s Surburban, which is 23 years old and still going strong! It makes it all the way up to the Well, up a rocky, bumpy road 200 more feet up a mesa. The coyotes come around and their singing lets me know when they are near. One night a bobcat was howling down in the arroyo. There is a family of ravens that also live here. They say good morning when we come out into the sun. I greet them with a loud hello and sometimes they will swoop down close, their wings making a huge swishing sound as they pass overhead.
We even had snow for four days after I arrived. It was amazing, then it was gone.
Tracy did not believe me when I told her I had found womyn’s land to live on. All I knew was that we both could have what we wanted. Trust, have faith and don’t let go of it. No is not an option.
So if you love womyn, as we do, and you have ever wanted to know what it is like to live in a place without regulations on your body, hell walk the land naked if you want to, find some womyn’s land . Clothes are optional. We are even building some outdoor showers and planning a Michfest mini reunion in the next year. The sunsets and sunrises are what you see in movies. The land is healing, it is full of semi precious stones. The quiet is very loud! I cannot hear cars, or other people. There are no light posts so the stars are endless. You can talk to God and maybe even hear her respond. It’s like that here and then there are the womyn who come. They call themselves Outlanders.