Saturday morning at Woodstock we trekked downhill to see the lay of the land. Next to the stage stood the first-aid clinic (good to know) and the Freak-Out Tent. We could have seen the bands from here but would have had to stand. Already weary from lack of sleep we preferred to have a place where we could get horizontal so we headed back up the hill. We found an empty jug for water and some chick selling Oreos, four for a buck. We bought all she had.
Again, a lightyear from the stage, we claimed a patch of grass big enough for blankets and just in time for the music to begin. Still, so far from privacy we both knew that if either of us had to pee we’d have to leave this place together, pull up roots and change families again or one of us would most likely be lost. This seemed to be the consensus of our neighbors, as well, and there was some talk of setting up a small latrine like others had done. One guy had a walking stick which he volunteered for its construction. He said it was too bad we didn’t have a piece of cloth for a flag that wasn’t mud colored.
But I had my starched white pillowcase. We tied it to his stick, jammed the stick in the mud and claimed this patch of land as our own. With this flag we gained a tribe and a home. Understand that this was the only remaining white thing in all of Woodstock and as long as it remained white it was our beacon, our return ticket to the settlement. Bathroom travel became possible.
With Oreos and a flag our basic needs had been met. We’d gained love and belonging with our new family. Let the self-actualization begin… so I accepted a barrel shaped hit of Sunshine… and time became skewed like only happens when you trip. Time never made sense on acid.
And what better way to begin my transcendence than with Country Joe McDonald’s famous F-I-S-H cheer?
“Gimme an F,” he demanded.
A half a million yelled “F”.
“Gimme a U.”
A half a million yelled “U”. We grinned in anticipation and jointly rose to our feet.
“What’s that spell?” We exploded like a rocket fueled by teenage angst! An entire hill screamed the most obscene word we knew at the top of our lungs. Imagine the power, the release, the unity of a half a million voices yelling the fucking F-word in defiant glee. Joe’s anti-war satire defined us as a nation, a Woodstock Nation that understood the senselessness of war. “…and it’s one two three. What are we fighting for? Don’t ask me. I don’t give a damn. Next stop is Viet Nam”. And the Woodstock Angel swirled magic colored sparkles to the sky… our banner… set to music. Any and all voices took wind.
We danced like mad to a band nobody had heard of, Santana. They were so original, so Latin. It’s hard for me to imagine now, the world before Santana.
We sang and danced and understood that we needed each other, needed to help one another… needed to help the extremely stoned people who had slipped and fallen near us… who speckled us, marbled us with mud and we accepted their mud. It was our reality and it was our trip. Thusly the Great Mother enfolded us.
Bands were delayed; freaks huddled under rain-soaked covers. I’d never been so filthy and the announcer pleaded with us, “Pleeeaase don’t swim in the drinking water.”
I turned to Leona and said, “There’s swimming?”
Yes, I swam in the drinking water at Woodstock. If I’d had a bar of Dial soap it would have been even better. I swam till I was wrinkly then someone helped me customize my cool jeans into ordinary shorts which I also rinsed in the drinking water.
Then I saw him, the most beautiful boy in all of Woodstock, a one in half-a-million vision. He was muscular and tan with long golden ringlets and deep blue heaven eyes as if the Woodstock Angel had sent him just to wrap me in his arms and kiss me. We made love in his sky colored tent. I remember it more clearly than my first time, maybe I remember it better than any time. It was like seeing multi-colored fractals while making love with every force between heaven and hell, simultaneously and they all were cool with it. Then we collapsed into the pond baptized.
I floated up the path, over waves of people toward that tiny patch of white, where I could rest my head and savor the secret of my Angel-Gift. Canned Heat sang, “I’m goin’, I’m going where the water tastes like wine.” I’d been loved, christened and I drank Heat’s words like communion.
We danced threw Mountain and the Dead. Creedence revived us and when the music stopped the night crowd sang on, “Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q.” indefinitely. This was the best possible rainy day at Woodstock.
To be cont…
Next Thursday: Sunday at Woodstock