But now seed camp is over, and the Gathering has officially begun, and I have to say it's impressive. People set up kitchens and serve food all day and all night for free. They have names like "Lost Tribe", "Jah Love", "Ghetto Gourmet", "The Co-op", "Squat and Howl", "Herb Calm" and so on. Directions are generally given in reference to one of these kitchens, which are dispersed throughout the woods. Every night at 7:30 or so is "Main Circle", where everyone forms a large circle in "the Church" (the main fire pit), and announcements are made, then everyone joins hands and chants Om. It's like a big summer camp that's free and populated by a narrow group of hard-core hippies who are genuinely indigent, arriving mostly by thumb and then having all their needs provided for them once they arrive. Consequently you are always being hit up for cigarettes (everyone here smokes them), pot (the ever-heard question "Sparajuana?"), and acid.

But the mood has definitely mellowed since seed camp, and event he dogs are fighting less. Last night I went to a sort of open mic deep in the woods where someone had carved out a stage with two fires at the front corners for lighting. Truly beautiful, and there was just a tiny touch of the usual Bossy tendencies. Every night there's a main drum circle in the Church, but I no longer bother — it's just a bunch of deadheads banging their djembes as hard and rapidly as possible.

Some Rainbow slang:

"agro" = person being aggressive or hostile

"Hocus pocus, someone toke us" = give me some pot

"Sparajuana?" = same as above

"Babylon" = civilization generally. Adjective = "Babylonian". Used constantly, as in "Check your Babylonian self at the entrance," or, "These drums are made of the finest Babylonian wood," or, "So, do you live in Babylon?"

"Elders" = the older Rainbow followers. Considered wise, but I've only noticed that they're acid fried from way too many years of this lifestyle.

"Brother ____" = the Rainbow version of "Mister". When you're being Rainbow-formal, it precedes all names, as in "Brother Pooh Bear", "Brother Blue", "Brother Warrior", "Sister Kristal", etc.

"Rap" = like a law, but they say it's more flexible. Some Raps are that no alcohol or hard drugs (hallucinogens are not considered hard) on the site (there's an "A Camp" mile up the road where you go for that), no money (only barter), no decisions without forming councils, etc.

"Ho" = approval. When you agree you yell "ho", especially at council meetings. Thus when someone makes a good point, a chorus of ho's follows.

"Focus" = when the council meeting turns too chaotic people yell "focus". Amazingly, it works.

"Rainbow noon" = after breakfast. Clocks aren't big here.

"Bliss ware" = plate, cup, spoon, etc. So-called because the people cooking are working, while you the eater are "blissing".

*****

I'm now off to breakfast. The K'rshas are here and make the best food of course, and they're good entertainment as well. They're all pre-25-year olds, and are among the most competitive and Bossy people here. And they have that stubborn smugness that comes from believing you're right about your religion and everyone else is wrong. There's also amusing anecdotes, like yesterday I heard that behind their headquarters in Eugene, Oregon, hidden under a shed someone found a Penthouse and a Bible. They were genuinely shocked. Beautiful.

*****

Greetings once more. Am now in Denver, having fled the Rainbow scene. Really left an awful taste in my mouth, what with about 500 people gathered in pristine wilderness to smoke cigarettes and beg LSD from one another. I think Matt and I were the only ones there who even thought about climbing the gorgeous mountain that was the backdrop to the gathering. No one so much as picked up a frisbee. They all just sat around campfires getting beyond stoned and laughing their joyless, nasal laugh that has nothing to do with humor. That staccato machine gun laugh is just everywhere at any hour (sleepiness does not diminish it) and it just chased me away.

Denver seems like any other semi-large city. Like the rest of America, it's mostly crushed by the same old chain food restaurants. But since Juarez, Mexico (a whole other story), and now the Rainbow "family", I no longer get the slightest culture shock. I can talk to the most way out hick and not feel the slightest strangeness. The joys of the road.

- Norm D. Plume

The End

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