Ten of Cups

When Tracy walked up I was crying in a field again, not delicately crying behind my sunglasses but, like, all the way crying. Pancho and Lefty apparently does this to me every time. Tracy asked me if I was okay, but she didn’t look too alarmed, because she knows how I am about old-school honky tonk.

Those damn Federales,” was all I could say, sniffling, and the boys played on.

I was minding my own business in the shade, peacefully listening to the Townes Van Zandt tribute set at Red Wing Roots, and the Steel Wheels were playing, and it was nice. And then they said, “We’d like to bring out two special guests, Hayes Carll and JP Harris,” and I threw a few elbows and knocked over some chairs and ran to the middle of the field in the thousand degree sun, because HAYES CARLL and JP HARRIS. That would have been enough, right there, but then they did Pancho and Lefty, and I already told you the rest.

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It was a sweet, sweet Virginia weekend. Virginia rolling farmland, which looks about like this at sunset:

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and we were in this town which is just about off the map, Mt. Solon, and to get there you wind through miles of gorgeous country roads and places where the houses are so close together and so close to the road that you just know they were there when  the road was just a little horse trail. You could almost reach out and touch the front porches around the curves. And then suddenly you’re here:

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in the park with these stone chimneys, which were formed a million million years ago when all of this farmland was ocean.

We were here for Red Wing Roots, and the talent was kind of astounding. Trampled by Turtles and Yarn and Hayes Carll and Peter Rowan, and The Duhks and Devil Makes Three and the Hackensaw Boys and JP Harris and the Tough Choices, and that’s just off the top of my head. There was a whole tent devoted to local-ish roots music, and that’s where I saw some of my favorite acts: After Jack and the Judy Chops and Brian Elijah Smith and the Wild Hearts, and James Justin & Co. (For the record, Bailey’s banjo solo was the most beautiful two minutes of music all weekend.)

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By the end of it, I was hot and tired enough that I had a fleeting thought of leaving early enough to behave like an adult. I’m glad I didn’t. I would have missed all of these people onstage singing Townes Van Zandt songs, and of course I wouldn’t really have passed up a chance to hear Hayes Carll tell stories. Somehow I’ve never caught the line “sitting cross-legged in the heartache tree” before. That alone was worth the long, dark, late drive home, back down through Virginia.

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I appreciate Tracy and Gregg for so, so many reasons, but a big one is that they’re exactly the kind of people with whom you’d want to share a campsite at a three-day festival in the middle of nowhere. They share their beverages. They string party lights on the tent shelter. They know who the must-see bands are, and they are unflappably cheerful.  I say “share a campsite,” but I am the girl who actually stayed at the Super 8 Motel twenty-five miles down the road for reasons not even worth discussing, and just showed up with fried pies to hang out at the picnic tables. Best of all worlds, no?

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The week before the festival was rough. There was a lost phone, and a car battery which went from “dead” to “cracked and smoking in three places,” and a new battery which died the following day, and then a car so dead the mechanics couldn’t get the door open. I did what any self-respecting independent female would do and called my mother crying from a gas station in Pilot Mountain. Thanks Mom. There was a tow truck, another tow truck, a taxi, a rental car. There was a back situation, which meant I couldn’t really bend at any point during the week, and a cluster$*&# of work deadlines, and an abandoned study schedule because sometimes getting your dead car off of a mountain takes more time than you’d think. Even when the car was working, everything was painfully slow, as I have to obey the speed limit scrupulously after running afoul of the law again  two weeks ago. Everything was frustrating on all fronts.

So, you know, I went to the hippie tent at the music festival and bought some good fortune. Actually, the woman who was going to read my Tarot cards couldn’t find the deck. She had a frantic five minute search and I was pretty sure all of that was a terrible sign. A doubtful reading would be one thing. No cards whatsoever just seems ominous, right?

She suddenly found them and apologized profusely, and I assured her that things were proceeding exactly the way the rest of my week had. She said, “hold on, I can fix this,” and went to get some sage and smudge-bundled the whole situation. Fresh start! I like a fresh start.

The same card, the Ten of Cups, flipped out of the deck three different times while we were fumbling around with the shuffling. It came up again when she laid out the cards. The reader thought that was great. I can’t remember where everything was, but the overall situation was that, despite having had to withdraw for a bit to figure things out (hello, exams) that I have all the tools I need to get everything I’ve ever wanted, and soon. Forces are conspiring, she told me, good ones, and that things are lining up and falling into place, There may be some sniping and backbiting along the way, but the end result is happy, happy, happy.

Say what you will. That was a lot cheaper than therapy, a vacation, or even a new pair of shoes. I’ll take it. Promises of good things to come, whatever mischievous forces we’ve all been dealing with lately. It’s cruising into midsummer, and the weekends are long and the evenings are lovely.

After that it was back to the festival, and the supermoon rose over the stone chimneys and the bands played late, late into the night.

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We’ve got everything we need, people. Loved ones and music and fresh air and sunshine. Things are going to turn out fine. Our cups runneth over. Cheers, y’all.

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