Spent the first weekend of March at the Tech Squares weekend at East Hill Farm. It was pretty fabulous. I managed to get a balance of social/time-to-myself that I hardly ever manage at an event like this, plus I tried new things and learned new things and saw new things, plus all the dancing.
I did less dancing, I think, than a lot of people at the weekend, but I feel like I got enough. Lots of squares, some contra, a waltz. Square dancing in the pool. Next year, I am going to try it on ice skates! (I chickened out this year; it's been so long since I last skated. Then again, I was also distracted by amazing wooden jigsaw puzzles during that block of time. A Wizard of Oz puzzle! With 3 pieces in the flying monkeys section that were actually SHAPED LIKE FLYING MONKEYS!) I felt really good about the dancing itself, how I adjusted after a couple of tips, and just about all of the people I danced with.
The cross country skiing was excellent. I love pretty much any excuse to wander round woods without any other people. Usually I do so on foot with Keila, but skiing was equally effective. It was a new physical skill, which meant a few falls and the source of some of the weekend's aches and pains, but I've always felt more emotionally stable while in motion. Skiing was faster than hiking, and I was contemplative in a different way than I am when moving more slowly. When you add in the sense of accomplishment from a new skill, plus being surrounded by trees the entire time, it was exactly as good for me as I hoped it might be.
Their easier trails are a maze of interconnected ones, so I explored every branch of the trail I could find and skiied the ones with the best snow conditions three times. I took Dad's camera along (in a ziploc bag inside its camera case), so now I've got photos of the trees and of my three new donkey friends. I fell on the icy hill after leaving the woods, you see, and stood up to find said donkeys staring at me as if wondering what possesses humans to do such foolish things. You would never catch a donkey on skis! Then they brayed at me until I extricated myself from the skis and went over to say hello.
Sunday I saw two lambs being born and then standing and taking their first steps. It was really cool. I've never seen any animals born before. I did much less cringing at bodily fluids and afterbirth than expected, and watching the lambs struggle to stand before finally managing it would have been worth overcoming a much stronger aversion. There's something about the shaky effort to get upright, and the triumph in said effort, that I feel really privileged to have witnessed. I went to lunch 15 minutes late because I wouldn't leave until the second lamb was on its feet. I've seen human babies as they struggle to stand, months after their birth, after crawling and standing with assistance, finally gaining the ability to do so on their own. Seeing that whole process compressed down into just a few minutes was really amazing.
I can't remember ever coming out of a weekend of this sort feeling as good as I do today. Part of it, I'm sure, is that we all had the connection of Tech Squares, which isn't the case at other big weekend events. You don't go into a convention knowing most of the people at least by sight, even if you do have a group of close friends present. Another part of it is that I let myself have the time I needed. I needed to ski by myself? Fine; there is no obligation to be social all the time, and I don't need an exit buddy. Needed to hide in the room and read a book? Good. Didn't want to play games or dance? That's alright. I got over my silly issues about "what if I miss something?" I don't feel like I missed anything. I got exactly what I wanted and what I needed.
Then I came home and slept for 3 hours.
And now, pictures! Various farm animals (including newborn lambs!), trees, snow.
No dancing because I hesitate to take photos of people without their consent. You'll just have to imagine that, or wheedle pictures out of someone else who was present. There's a sketched start of a self-portrait in progress, so maybe you'll at some point see how I did my hair Saturday night. I attempted sketching people while they danced, but my mental snapshot skills need some work. I'll try that every once in awhile on Tuesday nights, I think, and see if results improve.
Obviously below the cut is very image heavy, may or may not load slower than snail's pace, etc.( a fraction of my weekend in photo form )