It occurred to me that in my Beltane write-up, I promised a funny story about how I met one of the other grove members, and I’ve not yet made good on that promise.

So, once upon a time, a little girl named Kristin set out on a rainy Saturday afternoon to drive the 15 miles out into the woods for her very first ADF High Day ritual.

Okay, I’m not going to write the whole thing in that style, but you get the idea. It had indeed been raining all day, and the ritual site was a good 6 miles out into a local wilderness (literally–it’s called a wilderness) over gravel roads. Altus’s poor little Corolla did not enjoy that, I’ll tell you,

So being the type-A, chronically early person that I am, I set out in plenty of time (I thought), with the directions pulled up on my Android phone. On the way out to the lake, I got caught behind two very large, exhaust-belching trucks that slowed me way down. By  the time I turned onto the gravel roads, I was starting to run a little late and starting to feel a little tense. The ritual briefing was supposed to start right at 3, it was 2:50, and I could drive at a max of 15 miles per hour. Cue a little white-knuckled gripping of the steering wheel.

I followed the directions to the letter. Turn left at the next road after the fire tower: check. Drive 2.1 miles to a field, and you’re there. So I set the odometer and drove exactly 2.1 miles. Nothing. I drove to 3 miles. Nothing. I drove to 4 miles, and, having seen not a single living soul, I turned around, figuring I’d go back a bit and try again. Maybe it was a small field and I’d missed them.

On my way back out, I passed another tiny, inappropriate car for gravelly wilderness roads with out-of-state plates. I thought, “Hmm, that’s odd!” But that person seemed to know where he was going. We passed, I drove back to mile 1, and turned around. At about 2 miles, we passed each other again. I slowed. He slowed. I slowed some more. He stopped. I turned around, drove back, parked. Approached, thinking, “Oh, gods, please don’t let this be a serial killer who picks up girls in the woods and does horrible things to them before leaving their bodies in places no one can find them.”

“Are you by any chance looking for the Black Bear Grove ritual?” I asked.

Yes, he was. RELIEF. We joined forces, drove up and down those back roads for another 15 minutes, then decided to head back to where we made a left and turn right instead. And, yes, there they were, 2.1 miles to the right rather than the left.

I would’ve given up and gone home if we hadn’t crossed paths. I call that a fortuitous meeting.


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