Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Tale of Three Hutchmoots

A week ago I sat in a sanctuary in Nashville, biting my nails and being a fidgety nuisance to my neighbors in the pew. I was waiting for the moment when I would have to stand and say goodbye to some of my favorite humans. I can, at times, be the "glass-is-half-empty" girl, and I was that girl in this moment as I sat alone, waiting for the loneliness that comes after a voyage into the sun.

The loneliness never came. Reentry for so many of us is an arduous task. We all talk about it. The annoying duty in leaving something so precious and wonderful and we must talk ourselves into adjusting to the world we live in. Some of us are teachers, doctors, authors, craftsmen, salesmen, pilots, and more. All of us are so different with stories to celebrate outside of Nashville (some within), but we all have to say goodbye at the end of the week. And it isn't without difficulty.

The difficulty in leaving was softened for me this year. I think it has to do with the fact that the weeks leading up to Hutchmoot were turbulent. I was terrified of going and leaving my family on top of the long list of things that had gone wrong. I was stressed and tired and feeling ill from it all and found Hutchmoot to be a breath of fresh air (I knew deep down it would be). I felt like I was drowning and then suddenly I was buoyed up by my allies. I also found the reentry simpler in that I cleared my schedule upon my return and spent quality time in the refuge of my home with my man cubs and my darling husband. It's unheard of for my family to not be busy, but I am grateful for the quiet days we had. I've been able to think deeply about my trip and to miss my Rabbit Room family terribly, but to also give thanks for where I am at. I think I have finally figured out how to bring Hutchmoot home. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

This was my third Hutchmoot. My first was in 2012 and I knew not a single soul. I walked in alone and unsure of why I was even there (I was also 5 months pregnant). How did I even find out about such a thing as a "hutchmoot" all the way from South Texas where art and beauty are not often found in the easiest of places. Gulf Coast beaches and excessive queso, sure, but certainly no forests or mountains. I was surprised by what I discovered that first year. I kept it close to my heart and when I arrived home from my first moot, I spilled out garbled excitement to anyone who would listen. I was mostly met with pleasant, polite smiles of understanding from my loved ones, though none truly grasped the heart of the experience from my poor recap. 

My second Hutchmoot was filled with the sweet fragrance of blooming friendships. Conversations were richer. The sessions were more meaningful. The lessons I carried home were even louder and resonant than the previous year. I was a mousy brown feather dipped in gold and the generous glow reached out further and brighter than ever before. I was wealthy now. The embarrassment of riches that Hutchmoot bestowed on this little ragamuffin was a true gift and I couldn't believe my good fortune in the friendships and community I had found. I doubted that I would return the next year, because I had felt that I was given so much already, I couldn't possibly obtain another precious ticket and partake in the feast yet again. 

I was wrong. The day the tickets went on sale found me burning a hole in the floor in front of my desk. My pacing was frantic. My heart was racing. I kept telling myself it would be fine if I didn't get a ticket. I was lying to myself, of course, and rejoiced at having succeeded in obtaining another ticket.

My third Hutchmoot proved that each year stands alone. Here I am, a week later, still struggling to put to paper what this year taught me. What was so different about this year than previous years?

The people. Of course. This year I didn't rent a car. I didn't stay in a hotel. I stayed with Helena and Jon. And Ming. And the Brunones. And then we had some other rascals come through their red door into the true comfort of their cozy haven. Ming and I discussed our favorite moments from the weekend and they all fit into a category of their own. Conversations that took place outside of sessions, outside of events, outside of the concerts and magic that fills up the time of Hutchmoot. 

The camaraderie and laughter and tears that we shared when we opened up our hearts and our souls to one another in true friendship were what made the weekend special. Hutchmoot is the people. Yes, it's true that the sessions twist me and wring me and tie me in a little Jade knot, they undo me in the best way possible. The music that dances through my ears and into my heart are incomparable. The food that Lewis and his team conjure up for us isn't even something I try to describe to people. It would be disrespectful to him for me to even try, so weak are my words and so great is his Totatoe Soup. (Yes. Totatoe Soup. Read these books, people.)

The merriment that I so gratefully experienced brings pricks of tears to my eyes. The conversations that affirmed and affected me deeply will always be held closely to my wandering heart. 

Hutchmoot makes me brave.

It makes me glad to be me.

And it makes me love even deeper the place that I am at and the people that I live everyday life with.

(Ming, I'm bringing up that same page from that book again, feel free to skim this part.)

My friend Ming shared a page from a book the week leading up to Hutchmoot and it struck me fiercely. I feel silly for how often I brought this up to her, but I wasn't lying the day she shared it when I said I needed it in that moment. I need it still today as I sit here flipping through pictures and papers and notes from my trip:

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

This was a major theme for my Hutchmoot 2014 experience. 

I have been so earnestly seeking adventure and excitement and extraordinary days, I have been missing the smallest joys and sweetest pleasures. I've been berating myself for not having written any books or painted any grand paintings. I was fighting with myself and missing the opportunity to teach my children. Though in retrospect, I suppose seeing me floundering is good for them and the reality of it is that children learn how to handle grief and pain and insecurities by watching their parents handle it. 

The above quote is a parenting tip, but I take it to heart. 

I cannot ask my children or myself to strive for extraordinary lives. 

I need only to find the beams of light that shines through the old toolshed roof. I need to stare hard at the dust motes and specks that float on the beams of the sun. And I need only to look up and find the source from which the light comes. 

So thank you to all of you who made my week what it was. It was a sweet affirmation in the goodness of life and the unmatched pleasure of good conversation. 

Walking Radnor.
A couple of my favorite people
The Proprietor, Jill, Andy, and Ben. My favorite Hutchmoment was when AP and Ben ran up and accompanied Jill and Andy in a fond display of friendship. I needed to see it.
Arthur, Jon, and Helena @ Whole Foods
Africa: the person, me, and Ming
Arthur and Helena making some music in Jon and Helena's living room.
My worthy friends and allies, Jon and Helena.
The view from Helena and Jon's living room

Arting it up with my kindred spirit, Kristen.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. All of it. This is lovely, and the photos make me happy. So happy I got to finally properly meet you! Love you Jade. <3