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    Pre-Festival Integrity

    by , 05-11-2017 at 04:13 PM (182 Views)
    Its a warm sunny day at Salmo River Ranch just days prior to Shambhala, and a whole bunch of volunteers are busy getting things ready for the festival. Im in an area thats being set up with what seems to be a Flinstones theme, complete with enormous multi-coloured dinosaur bones and stone-looking structures surrounding a pool. A few of the buildings look like open jail cells with beds on the floors.

    Two women next to me are talking about how one of the beds is just a pile of straw, but that its because people specifically requested it, and how strange that is. I hesitate to chime in because I worry they wont want me talking to them, but then I resolve to just go with my natural inclination to say something.

    Yeah, what the hell? I say. They put mattresses in all the other rooms. Why not just put one in there too?

    One of them hands me a beer, its from Four Winds Brewing, and we get to chatting. They tell me how theyre volunteering there with a group as part of a class project. I tell them that Ive been to Shambhala before, but only on a day pass, and that Im excited to attend the full festival for the first time this year. I realize that I was right to go with my gut and speak to them because otherwise I would be on the periphery instead of having this meaningful interaction.

    Another woman wades by in the pool and motions at my beer as if she wants some. At first I refrain from handing it to her, thinking she might walk away with it, but again I decide to go with what I think is proper and I pass the bottle to her. She pours a few drops of the beer into a tiny glass vessel she is carrying, returns my bottle, smiles at me and walks away. I feel glad that I have shared with her and decide that I should always just do what I feel is right in the first place.

    A gruff-speaking man in aviators approaches and starts guessing things about me. After three incorrect guesses he asks if someone has been to look at my house recently.

    Sort of, I tell him, since I did have a contractor come quote me for a kitchen renovation a couple months ago.

    See, I knew that! he says with a grin.

    I leave to go home, excited to come back in a few days when the festival begins. I pop into a pizzeria near my house, where a customer is looking for a T-shirt that he lost. I help him search for it but neither of us can find it, and the staff seems annoyed by us.

    Outside, a cop car shows up and the shirtless man explains the situation to them, but they arrest him. I know I should stand up for him since he has done nothing wrong, but Im worried I might be arrested too and that Id end up missing the festival. The car drives away with him inside, and I feel terrible for acting without integrity.

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