I started my Independence Day with a jog and a podcast. This is not a significant way to start any particular day, nor was there anything of particular significance in this ritual. Ritual, however intimate or shared, grand or minute, can be like glue, holding individuals, groups and communities together. Daily rituals often remind us of our mortality, ground us in the physical world, and serve to access the spiritual dimension. In a free society, we are able to create and practice the rituals we need to feed our souls.
The podcast with which I started my day with chronicled the recovery efforts of the California condor, an indigenous vulture, the largest bird in North America, whose plight for survival as a species has been the poster child for captive breeding and the Endangered Species Act.
The story of the recovery and creation of California condor was told through the perspective a Yurok Native American biologist. Yoruk are the largest self-identifying native group in California and represent over 5,000 tribal members. On a day when a plastic blow-up American Eagle (whose real-life counterpart was also brought back from extinction through heroic scientific and human efforts) waved to parade onlookers, symbolizing freedom and independence, I was struck at how this emblem contrasts with the native story of the condor, which spoke of interdependence and generosity. Perhaps it’s time we started talking more about interdependence and learning from other cultures on how best to do this.
Music is one medium that seems to act as ritualistic glue, holding together a space for joy. Starting with the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival hosted at the Twisp Terrace Lodge and culminating in Arts Fest on the Fourth, Twisp seems to be the epicenter for music these past two weeks. Eric Burr of Lost River attended three nights of the Chamber Music Festival and shared with me that the acoustics at the Twisp Terrace Lodge were top-notch.
Also of note was the Twisp River Music Festival at the Twisp River Tap House on July 2-3, featuring the Afro-punk inspired jazz band the Unsinkable Heavies.
Honey and Killer Beez packed a full house at Mick & Miki’s for a private birthday party honoring Christine (Chrissy) Doran for her 70th on July 2. Over 100 relatives and friends came to wish her happy birthday, some traveling from as far as Germany, New York City and Oregon, including some party crashers. All the merrier, everyone was welcome and the added vocalists made for a fun night of karaoke after the band called it a night.
In 1970, Chrissy Elder graduated from Twisp High School. Soon after graduation, a young man rolled into town on his chopper, visiting his siblings and parents, and asked if anyone wanted a ride. She said yes. That was the beginning of a lifelong love affair and marriage with Dan Doran, one of 10 Doran siblings.
Chrissy remembers many nights at Boyd’s Café (Mick & Miki’s) when she had to sit by the back door for a quick escape in the event the police came in to check IDs. So, to have her 70th in the same space with many of the same people with all her children was a blessing.
Despite the prominence of the Doran family in the Twisp area, Chrissy’s roots to the Methow date back to 1918 when her Elder grandparents homesteaded in Mazama. The event was organized by Lisa, Chrissy’s daughter, who describes her mom as the glue that keeps her family together. Happy birthday, Chrissy — have a wonderful 71st trip around the sun!