September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend: Shinnecock & Bradstock

While the calendar date for the autumnal equinox doesn't arrive for another eighteen days, I think that for most people, Labor Day weekend has always stood as a kind of unofficial last hurrah of summertime. Tuesday morning rings in the whole "Back to School" mindset, which is soon to be followed by crunchy, brown leaves and car trips to pumpkins patches. I guess that's the reason why this three-day weekend is always packed with great happenings.

On Sunday, I took the long drive out to eastern Long Island for the Shinnecock Nation's 65th Annual Powwow. It is an event that I've attended on many a Labor Day Weekend. Notwithstanding the rainy forecasts that I had seen earlier in the week, Sunday was a warm, sunny, clear day--perfect for the tribal dances that graced the afternoon air. As I walked through the various booths and market places, I noticed that my steps kept perfect time with the steady beat of the drums that were ever present in the background. Very powerful!

At lunchtime, I took a sojourn beneath a shady tree to eat a Lakota taco--a sort of flat bread covered with beans and vegetables. It was a peaceful moment and I really enjoyed it. One thing that I always get when I'm at the Shinnecock Powwow is a bobble-head animal doll. After all of these years of going to this event, I have quite a few of them:

Mid-afternoon, I left the powwow and headed to Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck in Center Moriches where Bradstock XVIII was in progress. Bradstock is an all-day music festival; this year it was headlined by a jam band called the Electrix (a really good Grateful Dead cover group). As I walked through the front gates, I saw tie-dyed shirts and people dancing everywhere. The environment of the festival has a very late 1960's type of feel and it is really carefree and lovely. I had been invited to perform a few poems on a secondary stage. It went great and I had a lot of fun!

"We have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit),
so we can know the wonderful things
God has freely given us."

~1 Corinthians 2:12