Friday, July 31, 2009

Cleanup Letter from USFS

The attached jpegs contain the clean up sign off letter from the 2009 gathering in New Mexico.

Please download and distribute this information freely. A great big shout out to the clean up crew. You are my heros.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Odds & Ends

At the gathering, when telling various people tidbits of useful information, many of the listeners said something to the effect "everyone should know this." So here goes.

USFS and the road in - the cops are always on the road looking to bust you for anything they can. If they can't find anything else, they'll write you a mandatory court appearance ticket for something as mundane as a broken turn signal or beads hanging off your rear view mirror. This happens every year - be prepared. If you haven't read my tips for a safe journey home, click here and read it.

The tickets - the tickets the cops write for us are always mandatory court appearance tickets. Now I know that back home (where ever that may be), a broken tail light, loose bumper or even a less than perfect stop at a stop sign primarily involves mailing money to the court. But the USFS writes gatherers mandatory court appearance tickets. This means that if you do not show up to the court date on your ticket, the judge will issue a federal warrant for your arrest. IF YOU MISS YOUR COURT DATE YOU WILL HAVE A FEDERAL WARRANT! Now the cops love to come into the gathering and look for people who didn't show up and drag them off to jail. But it's not just at the gathering, any time a cop runs you for any reason, you will be on your way to jail if you did not deal with your ticket. If you go to court for a mandatory court date, YOU MUST CHECK IN WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT AND MAKE SURE YOUR PRESENCE IS NOTED. IF YOU DON'T AND THE JUDGE/MAGISTRATE DOESN'T CALL YOUR NAME, YOU WILL BE ISSUED A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST.

Court - court is a joke. Most of the time, the court gets sick of dealing with us and is willing to drop charges or plea down the charges to something you can live with. Of the last two times I've gone, once they dropped all charges, once I had to pay $65 within 3 months. I've seen people get fined $10 and have a year to pay; or receive community service to be performed at the gathering; or have major drug charges reduced to a fine and probation. There are various gatherers who are also lawyers and are often at the court - so you can get free legal advice. At the gathering, go to INFO and ask them where to find a lawyer ahead of time so you can discuss your particular situation. PLEASE DON'T BLOW OFF YOUR COURT DATE. If you already blew things off, get a lawyer to help you untangle the situation now. If you email me your situation, I will forward it to various lawyers I know who attend gatherings and they may or may not be able to help you at this point.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

International Gatherings

Great site full of links to gatherings around the world.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cleanup Status

This email was sent out by someone involved with cleanup

*******Begin forwarded message*************

NM Rainbow Gathering Cleanup, Friday, July 18, 2009There were about 120 people onsite yesterday evening. Just about everyone was working busily on cleanup. Youngsters and oldsters moving over the landscape with the telltale signs of Cleanup Crew: a trashbag tied to the waist, falling apart gloves and a tool or bucket in hand. In the morning we had a family cleanup council. Folks came from just about every remaining campsite and we all talked about our various plans for finishing cleanup and packing ourselves out. There are five vehicles which either need help or have been abandoned. Pretty much everyone is aligned with a running vehicle for exiting. The inside of the site is looking 'almost 100%.' Regular late afternoon showers have helped the high-use areas start greening up already. Most of the trails were disappeared and all the fire pits and kitchen areas vanished, scarified and re-duffed.There is still population along the road by the trailheads and handicamp - where cleanup is still centered, but that is all planning to relocate to a different area so the trailhead/handicamp zone can be re-naturalized too.On last Monday the 13th we did a long walking tour with the FS Resource Team and together identified areas that needed work. I'd say we were in agreement about what was already done to high standards and what still required attention. Except for what's along the road, most of the walkthrough's list has been accomplished.There was probably less overall 'Trash': mixed bags that find themselves transported to the recycling areas than we've had in the past. And almost every one of those was opened, gone thru and sorted for recycling. The glass, metal, aluminum and #1 and #2 plastics have been transported to recycle stations in Albuquerque and the non-recyclable has been taken to the transfer station in Cuba, NM where we have made an arrangement to pay for the excess dumpster space used. Kitchens have set aside cases of unopened foods for the local food bank. Warm clothing and blankets left behind are being dried out, folded and accepted by a local service that can distribute these next fall. More later next week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The good the bad and the ugly

(My thoughts on the gathering in New Mexico)

The most wonderful and terrifying aspects of the Rainbow Gathering are identical – this is a spontaneous gathering of people creating utopia as each person sees it. Of course one person’s utopia can be another person’s purgatory – but in general many people who gather are committed to accepting each diverse expression of utopia and many people try to prevent their utopia from turning into another person’s purgatory.

In a world where so much of life is structured to mitigate risks and prevent “bad” from happening, we have turned our society into one of the blandness places on the face of the planet. Of course there’s no money to be made by things that can’t be infinitely duplicated and marketed like Disneyland. Lucky for us as the gathering is one of the last “happenings” that is always an authentic expression of the human condition.

Since each gathering is a direct result of the individuals who participate in it and since the mix of individuals is different every year, each gathering is a one of a kind event – never to be repeated – like the day of playing pirates in Janelle’s backyard when I was eight years old. Still one of the best days of my life and those of my playmates as well. We tried many times to recreate that one magical day, but it wasn’t possible so I’ll have to be content with one perfect day of being a pirate on a jungle gym amongst oak trees and remain open to future days that may turn out as magical but very different.

On to the review.

The Good:

The site was beautiful, fire danger was low, we were at peace with the resource branch of the United States Forest Service. Every day Main Meadow was filled with councils, workshops, games, heartsongs and children playing. I haven’t seen a gathering with this much energy in the meadow since the 1990s (before things got contentious with the Forest Service). Main Council happened every day but July 1 (when it rained). We had an amazing Warrior Women Shanti Sena Council that lasted for five hours of incredible sharing, love, and respect for each other. There were Shanti Sena workshops, an emissary from the Hopi Nation, Tepees and I was able to hang out with a bunch of the earlies whom I’d never before met.

The Om on the 4th happened during a downpour and we stood in the meadow in the rain. When the rain came down harder, the Om grew stronger, when the rain let up, the Om faded a bit. I still don’t know what it means, but in talking to some earlies, it’s the first time in 38 years that we have had serious rain during the Om. In the afternoon, people played and danced and drummed in the rain and mud. We had no major incidents with the law enforcement branch of the United States Forest Service and we were focused on peacefully interacting with them (even if we yelled Six Up a lot.).

Last year’s generation gap seemed to have disappeared as people of all ages were trying hard to connect and share. There was plenty of water for drinking and cooking. Food was everywhere. The weather was awesome - not too hot, not too cold. And thanks to the near daily rain, the fire danger was low and the air somewhat moist. Rainbows, rainbows and more rainbows.

The Bad:

The site was situated adjacent to the road in which made it way too easy for people to run back and forth to their cars every day. I’m a firm believer that that we as a family do better when it takes great effort to get into the gathering even if it means we have to carry the less mobile among us for a couple of miles. Easy access to cars and hence to town contributes to more alcohol, which has the effect of causing more social problems. When we’re closer to town, some people tend to go there and disrupt the town’s normal activities and/or ambiance. When it’s too hard to get to town, we seem to turn to each other more often for assistance (and I think that’s a positive thing).

Trade circle was on one of the main trails. Most people who know me know that I’m not a big fan of trade circle, but if we are going to have trading happen, it’s much better off when it’s to the side where it doesn’t impede the flow of human traffic and the hauling of supplies to and from kitchens. Just an FYI, just because Trade Circle is on a trail that doesn’t lead to the cars, doesn’t mean it’s not on the “Main Trail.”

We’re just starting to recover from too many years of focusing our energy on the Forest Service instead of our family. Too many people still don’t know what Shanti Sena is (peacekeepers), who the Shanti Sena are (everyone) and what Shanti Sena does (help people resolve conflicts peacefully, find lost kids, help create positive situations that prevent bad things from happening, look out for each other, etc.). Not enough people know the hipstories (stories of gatherings past) or the songs and chants of our family. In year’s past, serious Shanti Sena issues were solved by singing, song circles helped us mellow some of our wilder energy or as George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Dog guardians, dog guardians, dog guardians. human beings who travel with well taken care of dogs who stay by their side, who pick up after their dogs, and make sure they stay safe and healthy are our heroes. Unfortunately, we have too many people who think letting their dog eat out of the shitter, run amok through dinner circle, or leave poop on the trail is taking care of our four legged family. Enough said.

The Ugly:

Most of what I consider the ugly is the result of the bad taken to extreme. Too much alcohol and not enough focus on Shanti Sena resulted in a stabbing. Some dogs were brought to the gathering without appropriate shots and a Parvo outbreak ensued. At least three dogs died (maybe more). Our circle on the 4th broke before the children’s parade reached the center of the circle and all the children were there – it quickly regrouped and let them in before breaking up again. The X%&R pole was in the center of our circle on the 4th– for some reason people want to worship at an alter instead of letting the pole be part of the circle by having it along the edge of the circle. We had a few people get too high/drunk and no one looked out for them, which turned simple mistakes into a nightmares for more than one person.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My letter to Lisa Law

Hi Lisa,

It was with great dismay that I learned you participated in signing a permit for the recent Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico. I would have hoped that with your years of counter culture experience you would know better than to butt you nose into issues that are none of your business. Furthermore, the people who have been gathering for many years were engaged in a plan to force legal action and allow us our day in court. Your complete ignorance of the problems you caused left us without legal recourse at present and undid years worth of work.

I can only hope that someone will prosecute you for falsifying the permit application you made since it is clearly a violation of federal law to lie on the permit. In no way are you or have you ever been a "duly authorized representative of the group."

At this time I would like to request a fax number so I may send you a bill for the services I rendered at the gathering. Since you were the permit holder and since I did not agree to work for free for you, I think it's only fair that you reimburse me for the time I spent performing Shanti Sena at your event.

I would also request that you remove my image from youtube - you filmed me walking with the cops of the 4th of July - without my permission. Since you have copyrighted that video, I am refusing to allow my image to be used. Nothing I do at the gathering is for personal gain. Either immediately place all video footage of my person into the creative commons or remove it from public use immediately.

With no respect for you or your actions,

Karin Zirk

The Permit

I submitted a FOIA request for the permit information before I left for the gathering. I've attached the responses I have received in PDF format. I have also challanged the redaction of the permit signers mailing addresses and telephone numbers as I have decided to submit a bill to them for services rendered.

All files are in PDF format.

Email Cover Letter

Word Cover Letter

Friday, July 10, 2009

Vision Council Consensus

Consensus at 4:40 pm July 9th, 2009 in Vision Council at Venado Parque meadow, New Mexico for the annual Rainbow Gathering, July 1-7 2010:

New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky.

Visit my blog for the 2010 gathering here.