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Picture of the Day
yesterday | today tomorrow

Fri- to Monday
October 19 - 22, 2001

the blue bus is calling us
Dave attaches a solar panel to the roof
of The Mule, the '48 Chevy schoolbus
that got us there.

surf's up!
Kelly Mayhugh's propane-fueled Tsunami

Using old suitcases was Weiss's idea.

Street find and... of another kind.

Everyone pitches in to help prop up
the orange canopy.

The dome is stable with fewer pieces
than provided, plenty of PVC left over.

Dave's full conversion of a bus he pulled
out of the woods on Vashon.

Nate's dog Spirit blended in
with the straw walkways.

View of the Village in the morning
from a high rock where I brushed.

Tonasket--a new name for me.
"Barter Faire" roadside
handpainted sign hastily appended
with old tyme "e."
We pull in a little ahead of dawn,
overcast sky grey with coming light.
Gatekeepers sit around a fire,
no entrance in the dark, we pull
to the side to nap until sunrise,
next to Kelly's grey tsunami,
met en route by luck. His rig:
a chopped and stacked
38-foot school bus,
playa veteran with railed roofrack
dancefloor deck that supported
30 odd partyers at Burning Man.

To get into the Faire,
you must be screened by the man--
"one smart hippie" Dave said--
who personally takes money
from each & every entrant,
$15 a head (thousands attend),
more if you want to vend.
(Josh manages to get in
for only 6 bucks
plus 3 sandwiches.)

Hippies are not communists,
but they are a nomadic community,
akin to gypsies,
meeting in remote places
on private land to exchange
goods, services, and ideas.
It's a temporary city,
comprised of converted schoolbuses,
camper-topped pick-up trucks, vans,
and VW micros beside which stand
tents, tipis, and our own
modified geodome (on loan from Jon T.):
tarped-over PVC tubing
w/ around-the-clock community
woodstove-warmed blacklight lounge
powered by solar-charged batteries
and stereo stacked in Dave's
1948 blue Chevrolet stubby.

Homebaked goods abound--
goo balls, brownies, chocolate chip cookies,
space cakes and straight-up fortified butter--
peddled by pretty basket-carrying
hippie chicks in drooping hats
and floral dresses.

I'm there with 2
suitcases of books
hastily pulled from my shelves
on Thursday evening
after work with Steve when
installing a steel staircase
in spendy Clyde City
went longer than expected.
It's an OK sample,
to which I add Dave's stock from Tibet--
prayer flags, incense, windchimes,
lanterns, daggers, and clothing.
I like keeping shop,
spend the morning happily
improvising a display
fueled by dollar coffee refills
from Elijah's plush bus next door.

What greater luxury is there
than to sit up in the mountains
alone with one's thoughts,
occasional conversations
with book browsers
about the Beats
and Buckminster Fuller,
getting seasoned advice
from Yakima Bill
on how and where
to begin organic farming?

The tribes gather,
it looks like the future,
freedom in mobility,
survival needs met
by resourceful community.

Easing back into civilization,
we learn the State controls
mass media Soviet-style
and baseball's back
bigger than ever,
the M's disappointment
dwarfing news filtered
from the Middle East.

At 32 Earth years,
I'm older than I ever
thought I'd be, suspecting
the middle-aged ruling elite
to be beyond reach,
and my own generation
not much better,
suckled in fat times,
driven by greed.

I look to the kids
just coming up,
in the hopes that
they won't buy it,
will use their lives
to change the course,
but what I hear
from a young
gas station attendant
in Wenatchee
doesn't encourage me:
"It's the end times,"
he says, "We should
just kick some arse
and get it over with."

I pay for my coffee
and leave.