Like all gatherings, it was an opportunity to reconnect with people met at previous gatherings, finally meet people I knew only from online, and meet many others completely new to me. Interacting with people is often the best part of any gathering. Certainly we had a great group at this Trothmoot, and I met a number of really wonderful people.
Of course there was also a program, and lots of common events going on around this. I don't remember all of them; indeed, I didn't attend everything on the program; I don't think anyone managed that. But what I attended, I generally enjoyed.
And then there were the vendors. It may be a good thing that Bob Stine doesn't live any closer to me. I drooled over just about everything he had with him, but only bought one beautiful drinking horn, carved in honour of Skadhi. Some of the other vendors caught me too, but Bob's the one I rate most likely to fill my house while emptying my wallet. And that horn's sure gotten a lot of compliments here in California.
I arrived just in time to miss the opening ritual. Somehow, when flying, my choice always seems to be between far too early and slightly late. So I unloaded my stuff and spent the evening reconnecting with old friends.
To my great joy, it was nowhere near as hot as the previous year. I could sleep comfortably. And better yet, the ticks seemed to be on vacation; perhaps it wasn't hot enough for them.
The first morning I was up bright and early ... though not quite early enough to be forced to figure out the coffee preparation arrangements ... and got my official work shift out of the way helping with breakfast. (I believe this is a new thing; everyone on the meal plan was expected to sign up for one shift of kitchen help. It seemed to work pretty well.)
I remember bits and pieces of the program.
Lissa and Laurel led a workshop on connecting to one's ancestors, by doing the things they had done. In particular, cooking. We gathered in the kitchen and made dumplings. I'm not often a cook ... and some of my recent ancestresses weren't much better ... so I felt somewhat awkward. Fortunately, no one laughed at my obvious sense of "what am I doing in this kitchen", or the fact I'd never made dumplings in my life, and didn't have much of a clue about them.
There was a really great discussion of runes, held in the basement of the dining hall. I was especially interested by the discussion of hail. I hadn't realized that hail (the weather, not the rune) is basically never mentioned in the Scandanavian lore, though it is mentioned a few times in the Anglo-Saxon. This made it seem strange to me that the word persisted as a rune name. And of course it also makes it difficult to get an idea of what the idea of hail actually meant to those who used this rune.
Medoburg Kindred did a blot to Frey that really impressed me. It was different in a lot of little ways from anything I've seen locally, and those differences resonated beautifully with what I've read of history and lore. I could understand their reasons, and I liked the result. I think they impressed everyone by offering not just the usual food and drink, but a sword. A real one, not a symbol, broken and thrown into the lake, much like what's been found made unusable and thrown into bodies of water. People were heard to whisper things like "These folks are serious".
I skipped seidh that evening, and stayed up late to attend Groa's Odhin meditation. That's another ritual that really impressed me. She does simple extremely well, and I found it touched something I didn't know I'd been missing.
The "main" ritual was focussed on Idunna, as I believe is customary at Trothmoot. I unfortunately missed part of it, being called away to assist in preparing the feast. But that proved to be a great opportunity for more conversation, and I heard another person's story of how they came to be heathen by having strange visionary experiences with our gods.
The feast was yummy. I remember that much. Also that my mind was elsewhere; I'd gotten into another exciting conversation, and wasn't entirely attentive to my food.
Afterwards, of course, was Grand Sumbel. I fled the loudly echoing dining hall where it was held, and went off with some of my dinner companions to talk about Odin. (A very good conversation. I think I'd have come to Trothmoot for that conversation alone.) Still, I regret missing Grand Sumbel; one of these days, I hope to actually attend one.
Then of course there were the various meetings. The ones I attended were Stewards (after checking to make sure a mere "proposed" Steward was supposed to attend), Nerdalfar, and of course the general meeting. I imagine there will be minutes of these published, so there's no point in me describing them. However, I did come out of the Stewards' meeting with new responsibilities; I now moderate the Stewards' email list as well as the general membership list.
I missed Muninn and Jennifer's wedding, mostly because I'm self conscious about attending weddings of people I don't really know.
I did manage to make it to the closing ritual, having chosen to fly home the next day rather than do a mad dash to the airport and miss the last day. Also a Nerthus blot that I remember enjoying, but don't remember much more about. (I'm writing these words several months after Trothmoot ended.)
I had a great time overall. And didn't even get myself too exhausted. I'm looking forward to next year's Trothmoot in Big Sur.