Arrival (The Cello)
We follow Clowncar and PeeWee down the mountain toward
It’s so beautiful, I can hardly believe him. Not today, when the water is low and swift and so far down from the road. We are passing scads of mountain bikers bent in half to resist the wind, their legs nothing but muscle and sinew. They pack and ride, and one is stupid and daring, passing cars who are trying not to kill him on this treacherous grade. O envies him.
And motorcycles everywhere. I’ve never seen so many.
“Perfect day for riding,” O says, and I nod. We’ve got the windows down. It’s a perfect day for anything. Everything.
Clowncar pulls over to a small rest stop and we pour out. O notices a vine growing over a boulder.
“Is that a grape vine?” he asks.
Sure enough it is; to prove it, I find a small clutch of grapes drying on their stems. We are right next to the river; I can hear it just through the brush and boulders and tangled vines. I look toward the rushing river sound and spot an apple tree. Declan is standing next to me, so I take his hand and find a way between two boulders; we’re just small enough to pass between them. Down a dusty path we go, to find the tree. And we do, right at water’s edge, the apples hanging just out of reach. Declan still wants one, and so do I, desperately. They are small and delicate and green, with the barest pink blush. I know how they’ll taste when my teeth break the skin. Forbidden.
A little climbing (I’ve never been a stranger to tree-climbing) and we have one each.
Sweet and divine.
“Eat it now,” I tell Declan. “Quickly.”
I can’t reach any more apples and I don’t want Cain and Abel on my hands. Or perhaps Esau and Jacob would be more accurate.
Back at the cars, O and Clowncar are talking, and I snap two of my favorite photos:
We pull the wagons up to the spot we held last year among the tents at the back of the crowd. RockyGrass is populated by a kind tribe, but a tribe nonetheless. Territorial.
The first group, Crooked Still, is already playing on stage, and a sound passes through my abdomen, setting off a flight of butterflies. It is deep and low and feels like an unborn moan.
So unexpected, it takes my breath, makes me bite my lip. Rushad Eggleston plays it almost like a fiddle, but still lets the instrument do what it was born to; cry like a forlorn woman.
We left both tents up back at the campsite, and the sun is too eager for our skin. PeeWee and I spread out one of the blankets, then leave the wagons and take the rest of the gear and the kiddos to the bank above the St. Vrain between two tents – the smoking tent and the granola-bar-sample tent (I LOVE hippies!). There is a cool, shady space there, above a sandy slope leading down to smooth, flat sitting stones along the water.
The guys appear, with beer. Hear hear.
And here we have a Commie Pinko Fag Dancehall, slightly inebriated with her first beer.
Special appearance by Random Hairy Guy in the background. Actually, he was very nice to the boyos.
Things went temporarily South after this. Scary bits coming up.