The alarm clock went off way to early Saturday morning, it felt as if I had just fallen asleep. Just for a moment I wondered if it was worth getting out in the cold and rain... but only a brief moment. For we were traveling to The Feast.
My picture album is full of family pictures from previous Feast of the Hunter Moon weekends, when we were a family of four and once even five (the year our future son-in-law was there)... I think that was the same year our best friends from Iowa came to attend the Feast with us.
The Feast of the Hunter's Moon is one of the largest reenactment celebrations in the nation, taking us back to the 1700s when the French traders, various native American tribes, British, and homesteaders all shared the land around the fort beside the Wabash river. The last numbers I was able to find said the average is 60,000 people who attend and 8,000 participants (over two days).
The rain was just subsiding as we pulled into the parking lot to catch one of the dozen or so shuttle buses... the conditions exactly what our family calls Feast Weather... a cool fall day with a little drizzle. All around us in the bus, people were chatting as we headed through forests of trees just changing color, toward the river... and then... a collective gasp from those who had never seen the Feast before. I smiled, for it always that way, always that reaction... shear magic... Narnia magic. :)
My husband and I stepped off the bus and immediately were enveloped in the aroma of hundreds of wood smoke fires as well as the food being cooked in dutch ovens and other cast iron cookware over acres of land.
I teared up a bit, really, really missing the rest of the family right then... wishing they were there to share the experience but soon we were enjoying all the sights to see... food to taste... fife and drum corps... fiddlers... dulcimers... and numerous reenactments going on in the midst of thousands of others.
A lovely day on the banks of the Wabash, more memories to add to the collection... budgeting of money and time... walking until we were both worn out... but well worth it.
I wish I could share the scents and the tastes and songs and other feelings but at least I can give you some pictures...
Just a wee bit of all there was to see this year. Just for a few hours, I truly felt I was in another time and another place.
While I am very thankful for our modern conveniences, it is good to remember a time when we all lived closer to the land and the great rivers of America were our highways.