Yesterday I was asked this question by a very famous person.
My Mother likes to remind me of how we got right up close to see him sing and tell stories when I was a Kid.
I found being an educator on the river to be the closest thing to being My Druid self.
I’ve been lucky to have been a part of the Tide Line program for many years now, part of an organization best known for its boat and mission as well as it’s Founder.
They also pull off this Nation’s oldest and largest environmental music festival, that became part of my family camp out tradition last year.
My first returning to festival environs since the pagan fests of the nineties.
My family was part of over a thousand volunteers at a festival attended by thousands more.
We were with education doing our Art on a stick.
Last year was our first year camping and working at the event, we were mentioned by name in the program.
Things turned a bit weird after the festival.
I had developed a project for the festival tent we were part of that included a number of fish flags, kites, and puppet like things for display.
The largest and most note worthy a giant sturgeon.
It took days to build and was partially made with a roll of my dead father’s French watercolor paper.
It is Big and delicate, I was happily to see it survive the weekend and weather.
I was prepared to let my director off the hook for inspiring me to make this monster, but he wanted to take it back to keep at the education center that we are based out of.
I had painted a wall and ceiling mural at this place, I even pulled my Kid in on the project.
I thought I was to be paid from some of the big money that was raised by the big birthday concert for the founder in the big Apple.
The building and grounds are not owned by the group to which I belong.
After the festival my Giant Sturgeon ends up there.
My director finds out he can’t pay me what was agreed to.
I retrieve my precious from this place before the hurricane hits last summer and floods the place.
No hard feelings.
The place on the river was not destroyed by the hurricane or flooding, like we suggested to the classes of kids who showed up there this season, but it was torn down in the wake of the disaster.
This season I came to a special relationship with the place of Esopus Meadows.
I asked my director if I could wade out before a program and let go of my Dad’s ashes.
Yesterday I’m in the Empire State’s first capital for River Day, and a ground breaking for a new building, A winter dock for the boat/ education center in partnership with the Museum I began Volunteering at this year.
I am needed as a volunteer for the Museum and am given a White t-shirt with the Museum logo to wear-as the crew of the boat and it’s org are wearing branded shirts.
I watch the entertainers from under a tent tying knots and applying temporary tattoos.
I know the performers and the executive directors, I don’t see my director, or recognize the Mayor .
I was listening to the speeches when I am surprised to see the Founder’s Iconic presence, he has his wife and banjo with him.
He gets his picture with his hand on the shovel, and goes back to play a few songs and tell a few stories,
His voice has not been strong, his wife ill.
Yet here he was about thirty feet in front of me with a few dozen people singing and playing. I have been close to him, but never got to talk to him myself.
The Museum’s volunteer director asked me to help her move a photo booth from a docked barge that acts as floating museum.
With hand truck we go up the ramp from the dock to the barge. It is decided the booth is not to be moved, as we prepare to go down the ramp the Executive Director is pulling up the front of the Founder’s wife's wheel chair to come aboard.
I stand aside as the Executive Director and the Founder’s wife's aide get up the ramp and onto the barge, behind them the Founder comes up, looking directly at me, glancing somewhere beyond the hand rail, then back to me. He looks me in the eye and says, “Is this about high tide? “
I answer “you know….I don’t know”