Amy and I were fortunate enough to be invited to do a demonstration of our crafts at Rickard's Mill.
Rickard's Mill is in south Alabama, about 20 miles north of Monroeville.
We stayed in Hybart, Alabama, one of the prettiest places I've ever seen, and the festival was amazing.
On Thursday and Friday school children were bussed in from all over south Alabama. Thursday was reserved for elementary school children, Friday was reserved for high school and home school children. Each day brought around 600 children. I took the kids through the different elements of banjo making, the tools involved and how they worked. Then I explained different styles of playing. I even lead a sing-a-long for the smaller children. All of the kids were very interested, engaged and well behaved.
Saturday was open to the public. I mainly worked on building a banjo and people stopped to watch, talk and ask questions. Rikard's Mill festival is one of the best festivals I've been to, and I would strongly recommend stopping by next year. I met a lot of very nice people over the weekend. You can read more about the mill here.
Tuesday I voted, then built a workbench that would be sturdy, but one that I could break down for portability. Essentially I had to pack a majority of my tools and a bench, along with Amy's spinning wheel and spinning paraphernalia into a mid-sized car. Tuesday night Amy and I packed and listened to election returns. The next day we loaded up the car and headed down to Hybart. We just got back Sunday night.
It was exciting traveling down to Rikard's Mill on Wednesday. As we listened to NPR, the landscape mingled with the news...the changing leaves reflecting the changing country. We have a new president elect, and the hope in the air is like electricity.
I thought of something Joseph Campbell said in a lecture entitled Experiencing the Divine where he spoke about the moon landing:
"[A] point that strikes one when one sees the earth this way (from the moon) is how small (the earth) is. It's really a space vehicle, flying at a prodigious speed and revolving. How perilous our position. Still, another point about it, how beautiful."
"When those astronauts came down, the first group from the moon, they said it was like earth was an oasis in the desert of space. And this feeling of love for the earth, and a sense of reaffirmation of our relevance to the earth was a beautiful thing, I thought."
"After all, we have come out of the earth. We are not delivered into it. That was an old theory that no longer can stand. Man has come out of the earth, as plants do. And man is thus an organ of the earth. And man's eyes are the organs of sight of the earth, and man's mind is the thinking of the earth."
"This is a new mythology, a quite new mythology. And furthermore, it's whole earth, and we are its citizens, so that those old, tribal mythologies which said, 'we keep love for our village compound, or for our tribe, or for our nation, and we project our hate outward, that won't work anymore. There has been [an] elimination of racial and of tribal and even national differences.
These remain, certainly, and are to be honored in a certain way, but they can no longer be dealt with as they have traditionally been dealt with."