To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Year 2: Part 5: Post 1: Lammas

Happy Lammas, again! Or Lughnasadh. Like I said last year, both names work.

This year's Lammas celebration wasn't that much different from last year's. We had a big feast in a big tent out on the pasture in front of the Dining Hall, with a couple  of performances, a kind of open-mike on a little stage inside the tent. Once again, nobody explained what any of it meant, though celebrating the awesome food Sarah grows seems to be part of it.

But this year I picked up a hint of a second theme.

This year Kit didn't sing, but she did perform--not as the star of her act, like last year, but as part of a string quartet. I think of string quartets as playing classical music, of course, but they played three pop songs, and the songs were wonderful and complex and new with the unfamiliar arrangement. They played straight through from one to the other, like a medley, except that they did each song in its entirety. I knew some of them, but not all, but I've asked around and have their titles and lyrics.

Empty Chairs, by Don McLean was slow and sad and had this wonderful, soaring violin piece in the bridge.
Hit the Road, Jack, by Ray Charles, was raw and bluesy with the cello doing the percussive work.
The Rose, by Bette Midler, had Kit doing the melody line and the other instruments weaving around her.

And looking at all three songs, they're all kind of about loss.

Never thought those words you said were true
Never thought you said just what you meant
Never knew how much I needed you
Never thought you'd leave, until you went.

Although The Rose ends on a note of return.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

I've heard that "Lughnasadh" means "mourning for Lugh," Lugh being a Celtic god associated with youth and summer. I suppose that in celebrating the harvest, we're also marking the beginning of the end of something. All the Sabbats are like that, I gather--in one way or another, they're all about beginnings and endings at the same time.

Certainly, Lammas is a beginning and and end of something here at school--the summer semester is over and the fall semester about to begin. The summer camp is wrapping up, too. I never thought about it before, but there's no gap between the semesters--how do the masters get our grades in? I remember they did, last year. It only took them a week or two, even though they were also handling their new classes. Another subtle magic trick, I suppose. I'm going to have a free period this time--nothing at all scheduled for Monday morning. I suppose Charlie will find some crazy thing to have me do with my time--or Joy will, now that I'm her student, too.

I saw the masters all leave again, slipping out of the party one by one, in later afternoon, just as if we're not supposed to notice they're going somewhere. But this year I noticed something else, too--dozens and dozens and dozens of former students came on campus, but they didn't interact with us. I didn't notice them last year because I was inside the tent--is that the reason for the tent? I suppose it is useful in case of rain, though. Anyway, I was just heading back to the Dining Hall to use the john when I noticed this--migration--of people across campus. I suppose I only saw three or four people, plus a couple of cars, but really on a campus as small as ours that many strangers is a lot. They were all dressed in brown uniforms--I couldn't see the rings, but I knew they wore them. All heading for the Mansion. The masters left the party right after that.

I'm guessing they went to the Mansion, too. 

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