One thing I love about Eugene is the number of opportunities one has during the year to dress up in outrageous costumes and mingle in otherworldly settings with other costumed strangers. (And when I run out of such events, I create my own.) Talk about re-enchanting the world! The Faerieworlds festival is a good example, but I actually prefer the Oregon Country Fair (going on 45 years now) which is set along twisting, shaded forest paths, with vendors set up in structures of moss-covered wood, roving musicians and performers, stilt-walkers, random parades, and at least half of the people attending are in some kind of fancy dress, a smaller percentage in truly stunning elaborate costumes. It’s very magical.
Of course, I love being part of that magic, and take pride in being able to put together a costume out of what I have in the house already (not hard, as I sometimes wear such things just to go out rambling in the city streets at night). This is what I did this year (all the animal parts have connections to my spirits):
In some ways the best part was wearing this outfit on the walk into town to catch the bus out there (stopping in Safeway to buy the tickets was especially surreal), and the walk back to my place, just passing people on the street and watching them do a double-take. It’s actually part of my Work (see, there are some fun bits to the Work!), in that it makes me a walking glamourbomb, injecting little moments of magic and weirdness into people’s lives. At the grocery store afterwards, we passed by a Mennonite couple – it’s fascinating to live in a culture where two people could look so incredibly different and be shopping at the same place. The woman did not appear to be fond of my costume (maybe it was the animal skull?), but I could actually appreciate her long, plain dress and head covering. Another surreal moment though.
As Rhyd Wildermuth has written recently, Eugene is a strange place, where the spirits are thick and maybe a bit perilous, and it shows in the ways we like to celebrate and how quick everyone is to become something Other for a time, and enter into Between sorts of spaces and revel there. It’s very easy to do here.