One of Smoke Farm's main purposes is to foster discussion and the exchange of ideas. Today is the annual symposium with a half dozen speakers with wide ranging topics. Most of the guests camp out in the meadow, but last night we had a fine Thai dinner for about 30 people. I ran into an old friend, "T" who was helping with the meal. With the people that come to this place, dinners are not just a meal, but a chance to talk big ideas. The brain juices start flowing. Today, perhaps a 100 people will come.
I get out of my sleeping bag when the sun reaches my tent and take my camp stove and kit to the river for coffee. It seems like the best place to do this. As I start off, I meet "B" who is going to do a bit of fly fishing. I offer him coffee and he will catch up with a cup.
At the shore of the Stilliguamish - sandpipers, a yellow legs, Stellar's Jay, fish rising to the surface and the tapping of a woodpecker.
I hold back one cup of cowboy coffee. It's the good stuff, but "B" will have to strain some of it with his teeth. I wonder if he is going to another beach. He should be here. "L" walks out of the woods instead, with an empty cup in hand. She is looking for her husband, who is not here. She did not see "B". Those two are probably at the same place somewhere else. I pour her the 2nd cup and we have a talk. Coincidence seems to happen with unusual frequency here. No one questions it and everyone seems to go with the flow.
It is time for breakfast and then the symposium. My art buddy, "K" arrives just in time - her first visit here, but someone that will enjoy this place very much. There are a half dozen speakers....it is all, to use an overused phrase, "outside the box" thinking. The topics vary from art to climate change, the drug war, the suppression of environmental activism, relational consciousness (I'll be thinking about that one for a long time), back to art, plus an interactive printing project lead by the print shop artist in residence. It comes fast and furious, but the show is paced so that everyone can talk or refresh between speakers. My head finishes exhausted...a Thanksgiving dinner of ideas that need time to digest. Another fantastic dinner is served and everyone gets to spend time with each other until well past the stars coming out.