May 30, 2013

Hanging with the Friendly Green Folks

After Memorial Day Weekend at my parents’ camp, I drove home Monday night, dumped the tent and sleeping bags back into the garage, took a shower, packed a suitcase with conference clothes, and set the alarm for 4 a.m. By Tuesday afternoon, I was checking into a dorm on a lovely campus set in the state made famous by the Wizard of Oz — and getting hugged by Friendly Green Folks.

The Friendly Green Conference is more than an academic conference: it's a community. Many of my Friendly Green Colleagues are close friends. We’ve read each other’s books, listened to each other’s presentations, and sat together to listen to plenary speakers. We’ve shared many meals and conversations, including lively arguments and impassioned rants. We’ve spent time hiking mountains, and visiting botanical gardens, and white water rafting, and doing yoga, and canoeing on rivers. We’ve cried together, laughed together, and confided in each other.

Friendly Green Conferences days are long — starting at about 7 am for yoga and then breakfast — and filled with sessions that are intellectually stimulating. By yesterday evening, most of us were tired, but it seemed frivolous to waste time on sleep when we could be spending time with our friends. So instead, we gathered in a lounge, lugging musical instruments and glasses of beer.

At midnight last night, I was sitting on the floor, leaning back against the knees of Artist Friend and sharing a glass of ice water with Lilting Voice, while several friends played their guitars, Long Ponytail jammed on his harmonica, and all around me, voices joined in the singing. A lovely end to a wonderful day.


Sarah Sometimes said...

Lucky you had a little pre-conference yoga lesson to get you ready for those 7 a.m. yoga sessions.

Silvia said...

You always make conferences sound like so much fun.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I want to go to yr conferences with you, can I hide out in yr luggage, please?

jo(e) said...

Mary -- you would LOVE this conference. And you'd fit right in.

Rana said...

Just be warned - trying to keep up with jo(e) at one of these is next to impossible - she's like the Energizer bunny! And she seemingly knows _everyone_. :)