Ode To Sandy Holler
Sandy Holler is driving up and hearing
And knowing it in your bones:
Where I’m called Hemp Mama,
Where my son Abner first arrived when he was one
And now he’s a man grown
Twenty-three years old,
The age I was when I had him,
A full circle of life & love & belonging.
Sandy Holler is sacred community,
Where we life each other up
In all our funky beauty
And recognize ourselves
In each other.
Sandy Holler is stretching back through time
To that first place
Where a pumpkin candle melted
By a campfire,
Where my baby boy said, “Fuschia!”
And a SHARE brother reminded me of that
Years later, how smart my kid was,
How little Abner stuffed his cheeks with grapes
Like a chipmunk.
Gratitude for all the ways we remember
And share our re-collections,
Gathering again and again
The threads of connection.
Sandy Holler was all the babies
Passed through holey standing stones,
Blessing new life
Calling forth Spring,
Naked in the sunshine
Bathing in the flowers,
Crouching in the reflecting pool
In the shelter cave,
Watching the sunlight scatter
On the water,
Holding arms out to another brother,
Witnessing the wonder.
Sandy Holler is the blessed Coffee tent in the morning,
Or tea if that’s your jam,
With all the fixins:
Milk and sugar,
Even almond milk,
A bit of luxury:
Not having to worry about firing up the camp stove
In the fuzzy AM,
Just meander over
To the Coffee station
And fill ‘er up,
And home-baked goodies of all sorts,
Just every little delicious offering
You could imagine.
Sandy Holler is the Rainbow Kitchen
Where we serve
Up creative concoctions of love,
Banana chocolate chip pancakes
In the bleary mornings,
And later, one meal morphing into the next,
Giant trays of salads with whatever produce
We all brought from our gardens,
And wandering folks line up,
Standing patiently, bowls in hands,
Waiting for the tabouli,
The hummus & bread,
The Stone Soup
From all the thrown-together bounty.
Sandy Holler is washing dishes in the back,
Because that’s one job that never, ever ends,
And I join the long line of women and men
Before me who bent to the sink
And blessed all the ways
We feed each other,
Scrubbing and singing,
Playfully flicking water at passersby.
Sandy Holler is chopping carrots
And hearing a sister’s story about how
She kicked the habit that
Was killing her,
And she is strong
And proud of her success,
Yet humble in her knowing
She will have to keep doing
What it takes
Every day for the rest of her life,
And the rounds of carrots pile up
As she speaks and I listen,
Nodding, learning, affirming,
Stories rising with the falling knives
And together we weave the new way forward:
Carrot by carrot,
Her truth, my awe
At her honesty
Sandy Holler is yoga in the grass
Faces to the sky
Sandy Holler is the warmth of a hug
Or the respectful, loving space between us
When someone doesn’t want a hug.
Sandy Holler is sitting on my faded blanket
Selling my hemp jewelry,
Making it to order
For little kids who want this
And that particular pattern,
And I gently weave my love
Into each knot I tie
For these brothers and sisters,
Grown and growing
Like weeds, each year
Astounding how we change,
Yet keep our core
From our eyes
When we see each other again.
Sandy Holler is a lemonade stand
Where you get the lemonade for free
Because making money is not the point,
Just connecting with each other,
And passing the hours
Shooting the breeze
With random folks who wander by,
And there are no strangers,
Only friends waiting to happen.
Sandy Holler is walking down the vendor rows
Marveling at all the homemade beauty,
Buying when I have the cash to spend,
Trading when I don’t,
Moving the energy around.
Sandy Holler is making art
With the little ones in the art tent.
My inner child is alive and well
So I string beads,
Paint paper plates,
Scatter glitter everywhere.
Sandy Holler is sitting around a campfire
Singing along as folks play their guitars,
And sometimes the impromptu music
Is the best of all,
Raucous and rowdy,
Sweet and tender,
Spontaneous and wild,
And you never know
What you’ll find
One fire to the next.
Sandy Holler is Star Camp,
Which is a lot of painstaking work by day
To create a magical glowing wonderland by night,
And we loved this tradition so much
We brought it home and created our own
Backyard Star Camp for our wedding,
And our friends and family sat under the
Day-Glo stars and had a taste
Of the magic of SHARE.
Sandy Holler is dancing my heart out down at the Main Stage
Holding nothing back,
Whirling in circles with my skirts billowing,
My dreads flying,
My hands tracing fractal patterns
That surely everyone can see,
Not just me
On this long strange trip,
And that right there,
Is the beauty
Of our community:
Over and over we find ways to take
The vibrations inside us
And make them visible to each other,
And art, and meditation, and yoga, and chanting, and games,
And parades of little children marching around with their homemade drums.
Sandy Holler is dancing with all my favorite boos,
Meeting and parting and meeting again
Making each other laugh with our antics,
Bodies talking their playful talk,
Eyes flashing and grinning.
Sandy Holler is little kids blowing bubbles,
Dancing around and popping them,
Running through rainbow orbs
In tie-dye t-shirts and patchy skirts,
Tiny hippies catching sunlight magic
In their little hands.
Sandy Holler is tie-dyed everything:
Dresses, pants, shirts, skirts, head-scarves,
Tapestries, purses, aprons, souls.
Sandy Holler is a giant ongoing work of art
That grows and changes every year,
A living creation that we all made together.
What a wonder.
Sandy Holler is a song
You can sing anytime,
A tapestry of sound
We all weave
And carry with us.
Sandy Holler is a continuous gift to the Earth
And all her oceans, creatures, trees, and air,
A way to raise the energy
And direct it for good,
To gather our resources
And create whatever change we can,
Thumbing our noses at the illusions
And grasping, gasping late stage capitalism,
It’s a redirecting of what we have
To who we are,
A blessing from each of us
To all of us.
Sandy Holler is shared breath
In the depths of our bellies
As we breathe in meditation
And settle down
To hear the in breath,
The out breath,
The easy flow
Of life force
Coming in to mingle with our insides
Exhaling out, releasing to the trees,
If we let it.
Sandy Holler is a circle of dancers in the grass
Taking turns leading
Mirrors for one another,
Playful windows into other
Ways of moving through the world.
Sandy Holler is holding space
For everyone we’ve lost
Over the years,
And the older we get
The more that’s true.
It helps to gather
To offer up words:
Hey, remember when He said that funny thing?
When She sang that beautiful song?
When we share our memories,
We keep that person alive in our hearts.
I hope someone will do that for me
When I walk through the veil.
Sandy Holler is a cigar box guitar
And a Drama-Free Zone,
A place to hear some picking and singing,
Guaranteed chill space.
Sandy Holler is pitching in to keep
The bathhouses stocked
With toilet paper and soap,
And mopping up the
Even when you’re not signed up
Because it gets gnarly
By Saturday night,
And let’s face it,
Sometimes we all need a helping hand.
Sandy Holler is packing it in
And packing it out, y’all.
It’s not only not littering
But also picking up anything
Someone thoughtlessly threw down.
See, we always have newbies
Who don’t know the ropes,
So it’s up to each one of us,
Yes, that means you,
To pick up trash and carry it back to your camp
And put it in the trash bags that you
Thought to pack ahead of time.
How clever of you!
And while we’re talking about
Picking up stuff,
It’s also NOT taking something
That doesn’t belong to you.
Because who among us
Has not passed out by a bonfire?
Do you really want to wake up
To find your stuff gone?
No. You absolutely do not.
You want your drum and water bottle
And various and assorted goodies
To still be right there by your side.
So do unto others
As you would have them do unto you
There are NO ground scores
At Sandy Holler.
I know I’m preaching to the choir.
If not, welcome to the ethos
Of Sandy Holler:
We look out for each other.
We love each other.
We put our love into action
In all the creative ways we can dream up.
If you’re not down for the cause,
We hope you learn a thing or two
Because you, too, are connected to us.
Yes you, the drum thief,
Your heart beats just like ours.
So knock it off,
For real, for real,
Into the Self you can be.
Consider this your homegirl intervention:
There is a place at our table for you,
But you have to become
Are you ready?
Come on home.
Sandy Holler is a blue glass bead in my dreads
A brother danced up to me and put it in my hand.
I put in my hair on the spot
And it’s been there ever since.
How many years ago was that?
And I don’t even know his name.
Sandy Holler is getting a pizza
Late at night from the Pizza Kitchen,
Which has saved many lives,
You know what I mean,
Too much booze and such,
And suddenly you’re woozy
And nothing can save your soul
But late night pizza goodness.
Sandy Holler is helping a brother
Drink some freaking water
For the love of all things holy, man,
You cannot live on beer alone,
So here, let me fill your cup
With some good old-fashioned H2O,
Before you fall slap out.
Sandy Holler is drumming, that primal call to the fire late at night,
And sometimes I’m just too exhausted, lying in my tent,
Fast asleep to the soothing sound of the drums,
I awaken and rise
Like a flower that only blooms at night,
And I drift down to the drum circle,
And there, in that gorgeous circle of light,
I can hear the heartbeat of the world,
And I join in, barefoot, lifting my circle skirts,
Pounding out the rhythms,
Moving in ways I don’t fully understand
Nor need to,
Because I am part of something so old
It doesn’t have words,
And so I dance, slowly, each foot kissing the Earth,
And lifting with joy,
Bowing to the fire,
Bowing to the drummers,
Bending to the wind,
Singing to the moon,
The ancient moon that shines down
On all her children,
All night long,
Until the sun comes up,
And I lie down
In the soft earth and ashes,
By the glowing embers,
And curl up like a sweet child
Sandy Holler is Sunday morning Bloody Marys,
Spicy way to start the day
And ease the way toward leaving.
Sandy Holler is the Oolong Boys,
Sunday morning magic,
Lying curled up in sleeping bags
Down by the Main Stage,
Dreaming and grooving,
Maybe even dancing a bit
If there’s any twirls left in your skirts.
Sandy Holler is the Sunday Raffle,
The last thing we hang out for
Before the long road home.
It’s portable, that Sandy Holler magic:
You can take it with you.
When it’s time to go and everyone has loaded up their cars,
And they’re hugging good-bye,
It feels like a little death
But that’s an illusion,
Because Sandy Holler is alive
In you and me
All year round.
All we have to do is remember.
Sandy Holler is a blessing,
First and last,
It’s a smile on my lips,
A fullness in my heart,
A gorgeous magical web of connection
That manifests twice a year
Into the most beautiful physical form
Of anything on this sacred Earth,
And pulses with energy
Through the rest of the year
Because even when we’re apart,
We’re all family
And we’re always together
I love you
And you and
--Beth Feagan AKA Hemp Mama