After almost two complete seasons of heading off to festivals, we’ve finally mastered the art of packing quickly and efficiently. Well, at least we’re getting better at it. So on Friday morning, after a night of preparing food, playing tetris with our luggage, and sending kids back and forth with numerous messages for each other, Papa Bear and I headed down the drive, kids excitedly prepared for adventure, knowing our home was tucked safely into the hands of some caring friends. From there, we drove quickly out of our comfort zones, entering into Quebec, where only one of five of us can speak (ish) the language.
Here’s the thing about comfort zones. Some folks live in a North America-sized comfort zone, while some of us, well, I’m the kinda gal who would be happy to set up camp, and never leave it. I’m happy to pick wildflowers for the stack of suitcases that work as a small table for the centre of our chair circle, read a book, knit a scarf, occasionally ducking out for a swim or a peak at the vendors. So let’s just say, my comfort zone, although it does include a piece of our French-speaking province, does not include a lot of well, people; in fact, it’s kind of barren, when it comes to crowds. I’m a fan of interesting folks who can stand to listen to what I might have to think, as well.
Papa Bear and I live in different sized comfort zones, his includes more people, perhaps less foreign language, but fairly equal in the amount of art and culture. The curfew in his comfort zone far exceeds the one set in my own, especially in my pregnant state, and it seems that Big Brother seems to be following in his father’s shoes.
Some comfort zones involve frogs but not snakes, some involve searching for pretty rocks, while others are centred around catching some sun instead. This weekend we learned that Little Brother’s zone doesn’t involve any sort of underwater stick, and that he’ll be certain everyone can hear him scream about it. Some people will try new food, like the Poulet Yassa that Big Brother bought for his dinner one night, while some of us will be lured in by something more familiar, although not without sneaking a taste of that delicious curry.
Some family members would prefer to drum the night away, encompassing a gigantic fire, surrounded by people letting it all go, dancing wild and free in the moonlight, while others prefer to snuggle into bed after a long day of sun and experience, enjoying the warmth that only a caring partner can bring to a very cold night. Some need to reconnect, telling tales of things observed, talking about insecurities, joys, and lists for tomorrows.
There are times when our differently coloured zones cross over into each other’s, blending yellows and blues into marbled shades of mossy green, and there are times when there are large gaps and spaces in between, resembling vast grey oceans. How do we work together, ensuring that none of us are lost along the way, but still fulfilling our personal definitions of fun? Well, sometimes it looks like napping together in the afternoon, rather than travelling across the festival grounds, and sometimes it looks like climbing out of bed on a cold night, pulling on warm socks and taking the long walk to join those fire-gatherers who would rather not sleep, and sometimes it looks like Mama, convincing everyone that we should stay, stick it out, work with the language barrier, and wade through the uncomfortable bits because I know what it is like, living in a smallish festival comfort space, on a regular basis. And sometimes, it looks like Papa Bear, taking me by the hand and leading me through the throngs, encouraging me to see what lays beyond. You know what’s always there to great me on the other side of discomfort? Growth. (sometimes welcomed, sometimes waiting there, mocking me, but she’s always there)