We were there, all 6,609 of us – loving, laughing, crying, hugging and sharing our lives. We arrived exhausted in cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs and the shuttle from the local airport. We had one strong bond – we were lesbian sisters from all over the world. On the opening night, we would see the flags that confirmed (what we knew) that ‘we are everywhere!” The police presence was there – but, it was just to manage the traffic that stretched for well over five miles. Our RV from Canada, joined license plates from Alaska, New Mexico, California, Mississippi and British Columbia. We arrived on the main road at around 3 pm and finally parked around midnight – exhausted but on a natural loving high!
This was my first Michfest and I do not have the herstory of the previous 39 times that womyn have met every August since 1976. This was when a very special individual, named Lisa Vogal, met with her sister and a friend to find a place for lesbian women and their young children to meet. This was an Amazon test of courage and vision. On stage, we were informed that those first womyn and others met without security in an era when being a lesbian was a courageous and often dangerous undertaking. They had only cb radios to call for help as trucks circled their first land – curious no doubt – but no less intimidating. Gaia the earth goddess and nature protected them as well as their inner Amazon strength to stand shoulder to shoulder with one another.
Endings are Just Beginnings
This August 2015 marked the end of Michfest as womyn have known it – “On the Land” as it has been lovingly named. Over the 40 years womyn have grown together through workshops and on stage performances that have consisted of poetry and musical performances.
Comic renditions have made womyn laugh, cry and search their souls for answers. Through poetry, music, dance and comedy, herstory of lesbians has been shared. Each genre was a teaching session that challenged us to grow and to support the needs and plights of our rainbow sisters world-wide. For example, in 2015, Womyn of Color reminded us of the political situation in the USA that “Black Lives Matter.” As a reader, you are no doubt aware of the black shootings by police in many American cities. Although segregation ended “on paper” in the 1960s, racism is still prevalent in the USA. One Womyn of Color reminded the audience that whites are still privileged in the States and that we must help end this equality.
Celebrating How Far We Have Come – Yet, We Still Have to Conquer on
THE SPIRIT OF MICHFEST LIVES ON!
The spirit of Michfest has NOT ENDED in August of 2015, everyone leaves with Amazon spirit of love, growth and the will to continue to fight against injustice where it raises its ugly head. We have been empowered. If you have never attended a Michfest – the power is there for you. We sent our love to you – whether you live on the land in countries of the Mediterranean, Tropics or Ice Tundra. We sent our love and sisterhood to you whether you live on an island in a vast ocean. We hug and embrace you as you struggle against homophobia in countries that claim to love God – and have no idea that loving God – demands love of neighbour and respect for all living creatures.
More Abouit MichFest to Follow
As I stated, this was my first Michfest. The following blogs/articles come from my heart and are based on interviews and experiences that I experienced. It is a very small “window.” I should have attended Michfest many, many years ago, but that past is something that I do not live in.
My Thanks and Love
Starting with Lisa Vogel – thanks, Lisa.
I thank every woman who shared with me – in the food line-ups – sitting waiting for performances to begin. I thank people who helped me with RV problems:
––Ace (engineer with muscles) —Kelly and Krista (love and support)—–Karen and Lori –—-(they gave me breakfast) –Connie (who gave me replacement camera batteries)….Craft Sister (who sold me the shirt off her back because as a craft woman – they had all sold out and I loved the shirt.——Glenda ( a woman who will again conquer cancer.) Glenda and I held hands at a goddess and native women’s healing ceremony.
I want to send my love and thanks to Debbie and Angela who travelled down with me and gave me such joy.
I want to thank my beloved wife, Trish, who unexpectedly flew down from Toronto for my birthday on August 5th and surprised me with her presence (and gifts – LOL). On the way, Trish met Evie (from Belgium) and Darlene from Quebec, Canada) at the Chicago airport. They are now our dear friends. I want to thank Lisa Vogel for her vision and 40 years of dedication to womyn. Thanks also to all the workers, performers and workshop leaders. What love!
And others – I don’t know your names – but I remember incidences. I thank women in DART buses and on tractor pulls who sang, “Happy Birthday, Paula.” I thought I was spending my birthday without my wife – but I knew I was spending it with my sisters. Thank you
My Cards -Not Ego – But Commitment
I placed my cards everywhere – to inform my sisters about my web site (which you are on). I am nearly at 180,000 hits. My greatest joy was to link a woman from an African country to a LGBTI community. This was done through my website. This is my first commitment on a daily basis.
My second commitment is to offer my lesbian ebooks.
In each one of them, lives of lesbians are explored. There is a common theme – each woman travels to Michfest. Let me introduce you to Jo of the Outback who travels from Australia. There is Lt. Dee: Army Nurse, Vietnam (1968) and finally Jazz: Jet Setting Lesbian (who has her own British television show).
In each story, I have tried to find a way to bring in stories of lesbians of the past and present. Again, I attempt to do this on my web blog.
A Message for us All
Never forget for a moment that you are incredibly strong. Call on the spirit energy of your rainbow sisters world-wide. Call out to the Creator (if this is in your belief system).
Even, in moments of darkness – you will arise like the “Phoenix from the Ashes”. Believe in yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
We all walk through this tunnel, but believe – that there is energy from your Amazon sisters. We have all been in that tunnel – and we have emerged stronger. Reach out —you deserve to bloom – to stretch to your giantess size. Believe. Believe.
All my love,