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In another transition

Life in Albuquerque has been pretty good these past seven months.

Mr F and I have gotten involved with several groups. We've started to make friends, or at least meet really neat people.

I qualify that last thought, because since my 2010 Census job has ended (Tuesday this week), all of a sudden I'm feeling the reality of the "just acquaintances" scenario or "not best buddies" syndrome. It's perfectly natural that others have established their social circle. Perhaps I need to work harder.

One clear example was about three weekends ago. Feeling sad, I forced myself to drive to the desert west of ABQ for a three-day gathering at the spiritually rich, Three-Sided Whole. I only intended to stay for part of one day, opting to leave around midnight. I found out later, the weekend was a fund-raiser for their community organic garden. Entrance was $15 per person whether you were there all three days or just part of one day.

Many of the people in this group are artists with the Kosmic Trading Post Artists Cooperative, along with their large group of friends.

It was great being way out there with these people in this sacred place. Upon seeing people I know, we each hugged, and I hoped to begin a conversation or two, yet everyone was already engaged with others or frenetic with the need to get things organized, etc.

It's been awhile since I've been "on the outside," and I made the best if it, by focusing on the live performances, staring deeply into the bond fire while attempting to get warm or walking around the grounds to check out some of the public spaces and maybe strike up some conversations.

Toward the end of the night, one particularly energetic man, who reminds me of Tigger, pulled me aside and said he needed a huge favor from me. He may have noticed I was on my own, and feeling sad. He asked me to get into a gorilla suit he has and silently interact with the various clusters of people. Of course, I would do it as long as he could make sure no one knew it was me. He promised, and I got into that gorilla suit.

Slinging a tangled rope over my hairy shoulder, I headed over to a group sitting in a circle and plopped down with them. Being night time, they didn't immediately notice the uniqueness of their new companion. Once they did, we interacted a bit.

I left them and walked over to a group standing and talking. One of them was gesturing, so I started mirroring him. We had fun with the mirroring game for awhile, then I moved on.

Near the band, a little girl with her dad noticed me, and she was terrified. She started to run away, but then ran back to her daddy. I plopped down on my knees and held my arms out with palms upward hoping she would feel some comfort. She didn't. So I grabbed the tangled rope from my shoulder and gently started swinging it back and forth then let it go so it would land near her. I beckoned her to toss it back, and her dad encouraged her, too. We did this several times and she seemed comfortable. Then I gestured for a hug. She was a little scared, but her dad asked her if it was O.K. if the gorilla gave her a hug. She nodded and we hugged then waved good-bye.

A few more encounters included pounding my chest and waving my arms with some guy who then got me into a body slam with him.

With the help of a human, we convinced another human to jump the rope we were swinging.

Finally I headed back over to the de-costumeing location, and Tigger helped me out of the costume.

What a great experience that was. Too bad I had to be in costume to have it. It completely made my day. I thanked Tigger profusely.

I don't know if anyone suspected it was me in the gorilla suit during these antics. Since then, I've confessed to being the gorilla.

This weekend, the Three-Sided Whole is having another three-day weekend retreat, this time to celebrate the Summer Equinox. I wanted to go today, but decided I'd rather spend the day alone than have another day of clearly being "on the outside" there. Especially since I would be paying $15 to attend. The money does go toward upkeep of the grounds. A fund-raiser.

Maybe if I had gone, people would have been more engaged this time. Who knows. My loss.

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