day of the dead (part two)

...continued from here.

I'm practically skipping, as I head towards the back end of the cornfield. But it's early. And it's still light out. And while in a couple of hours, I won't be the only one too excited to walk at a normal pace, for now, it's still pretty quiet in terms of activity.

...but not in terms of sound. Already, music is pouring forth from multiple stages and tents staggered about the grounds. If I hadn't mapped out a schedule ahead of time, if I didn't already know which DJs I wanted to hear and when, I'd let myself be pulled in the direction of whatever beats moved me most.

Tonight, however, except for a small block of time in the middle of the evening about which I'm undecided, I know whose sets I want to watch. First up: Clockwork. There's already a decently-sized crowd in front of the stage, but not so many people that I can't get close. I find a spot slightly off to the right, where the crush breaks up. I really only care about two things, when it comes to where I stand: I want to be central enough that I'm totally absorbed in the sound, and I want enough room to dance. For me, ideally, that's a good four feet of empty space around me. I...get into it.

By now I've figured out my own, personal festival sweet spot: just where the crowd starts to thin out, often at the edge of the standers, just before the sitters. These are the people who aren't obsessed with getting close to the stage, and who'd rather hang back, still enjoy the fantastic acoustics, dance, drink, and socialize, without thousands of strangers slamming into them for an hour at a stretch.

Clockwork is good, if a bit rough for my tastes. I realize I'm probably going to need a drink or two, in order to get into them. So while the field is still filling up, I jet over to the designated, cordoned-off drinking area and have a quick screwdriver. A double, actually. Time is of the essence. When I get back a few minutes later, the crowd is fully warmed up, bathed in light and sound. This particular style of music is not really my wheelhouse, but I still enjoy it. As I'm dancing, a kid in a full-body squirrel costume comes bounding by. He's completely dialed in, jumping and bouncing and twisting and thrashing. I find myself grinning; the sight of him is just delightful. The whole scene is, in fact. I'm suddenly awash in the happiness I knew would hit me: and I've got eight hours more ahead of me, of enjoying some of the top DJs in the country, spinning cutting-edge music they've meticulously designed to help transport me to a state of elation. And I'm well on my way to that elation already. What more could I want?

I stop moving and just take a deep breath. I close my eyes. The knots I carry deep in my shoulders come a little bit loose. I'm miles away from the things that keep me up at night. They didn't make it past security. I couldn't have smuggled them in if I'd wanted to. They would have slipped through my fingers the minute I lifted my hands to the light.  My head is clear save for a neon-lit sign spelling J-O-Y that grows brighter each minute. This is the feeling I chase. This is the in-between that I crave. And I haven't even done anything illegal yet.