It was one of those perfect, clear evenings in Asheville. Not a cloud in the sky. Good fortune for the folks arriving at the Shindig on the Green festival. Shindig on the Green is a long-standing tradition here in the Asheville area. The summer series of family-friendly community get-togethers commences "along about sundown." and usually runs until around 10:00 p.m.
We got there early.
Even after all these years, LXS could hardly wait to check out the "Jammin Tents" with music-makers warming up for their performances.
I can almost hear them now, even as I write...and I can almost see the young fiddlers' sweet expressions as they come to the jammin' tents for the very first time, novices...still a little nervous...still a little shy...
I can almost feel the welcoming handshakes of their elders, more accustomed to the energy wrapping around these great evening performances at SHINDIG, but still generous to the core.
Since way back before most of us were born (1928), banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, storytellers, singers and (my favorite) mountain fiddlers have shown up at Shindig on the Green. I think they come not only to delight those of us in the audience, but to enjoy themselves, as we all can participate in the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in one way or another.
We brought lawn chairs and a little picnic basket with locally grown fruits, cheeses from a nearby organic dairy, and home-baked bread secured at the Asheville City tailgate market earlier that day.
We found a nice spot beneath the huge old trees, and settled in to enjoy the lively music and dance (see video) traditions of Southern Appalachia.
It was, as I said, one of those perfect evenings-one of many summer Asheville Evenings in the mountains full of memories that I will treasure for many years to come.
Look just to the right in this photo. Can you pick out the lawn beyond the yellow streamers where kids in the audience have their own place in which to dance or cavort to their hearts' content ? Possibly the very act of sharing good times with everyone in the community is one of the elements that makes Asheville a sustainable community. .
As an "old schoolteacher' I love this element in the festival. From the moment the first fiddle tunes up until the final notes, kids, parents, and grandparents can absorb the happy tradition. Adults and kids can join when the square dance is called. It's quite a sight to see and often is comical, as you might imagine, so it is accompanied by waves of laughter and much clapping. No wonder Artists, Musicians, Dancers, Poets and Creative People love it here in the land of the "Cultural Creatives". Inspiration. . . and Pure Potential really are in the air! .
Yes. . . one of those perfect evenings. Something exciting,on so many levels, arranges itself between the coves and rising ridges. And you know, YOU are invited and welcome here in the venerable Appalachians, almost as old as time itself.
The mountains, the festival, the community reminded us tonight that it actually is easy to get in touch with something much larger than those of us who gathered at Shindig. Maybe it is the sense of community. Maybe that's why Asheville ranks as the "Happiest City in the USA". In any case, a gentle soul once told me,
".....there's a pathway to contentment here.
It is like the rainbows over the ridges.
It's an uncommon force.
When you see it you can measure it by your heartbeat ...
an all-at-once coming together and letting go... ." ...
and I believe it's true.
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