Dear Symbiosis and Woodward Reservoir…
Dear Symbiosis and Woodward Reservoir,
Thank you for three years of dusty and tiring walks from the camp sites to the festival grounds. Thank you for the daytime reservoir parties filled with floating art and thirst-quenching beats along the shore. Thank you for bringing larger-than-life art to the crowds; art that can be touched, loved, climbed on, and photographed. Thank you for the intentions you insert into every single piece of the festival whether it is permaculture education, rituals and ceremonies, insights on law, food preparation, or conscious relationships. Thank you for the lineups that you won’t find at any other festival, and thank you for simultaneously holding on to your roots as well as accepting the new. Thank you Oakdale for letting all of us creep into your little town each Fall because we all know what the influx of people and cars can do to small town roads. Thank you for facilitating all of the laughter, growth, relationships, hugs, and tears we have experienced during our times at Woodward Reservoir.
There are many places that hold a special place in my heart, but none have me feeling the way that Symbiosis at Woodward Reservoir does. From the moment I stepped on to site three years ago to the moment I drove away from the festival for the last time late Sunday night, I have learned an exponential amount about myself, my community, and the person I want to be. I can’t think of one place that has seen me grow more over the years than the reservoir. This isn’t a unique testimonial regarding Symbiosis; this event has changed the lives of many people and I have exchanged countless stories with friends and strangers alike about the things we have seen, felt, and experienced within the festival.
(Kaylie ‘Violet’ Starkey of Violet Visions)
In 2013 I attended Symbiosis for the first time and I had no expectations of the event, but I also had no idea of what was to unfold at that time. Untruths unfolded, betrayals were committed, tears were shed, and by the end of the event I was a broken woman who had to create a brand new path for herself; I felt, and probably looked, like a sad puppy huddled in the corner of a kennel. However, in this moment of heart-breaking pain, there was also a moment of clarity. This was one of those life-changing moments; a climax in a movie if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I wallowed in a pit of depression for a while, but once that was over I learned to love and care for myself more than I ever had before. The catalyst for my personal growth was tons of pain, but the end result was something that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.
Returning to Symbiosis and Woodward Reservoir in 2015 and 2016 was like checking-in with a therapist months, even years, apart. How could there not be change? Friends had come and gone, new memories had been made, personal growth had been rampant, and other dynamics had changed throughout the course of time. This festival has seen me at both my lowest and highest points. If the land of Woodward Reservoir could speak, what do you think it would say? How many monumental moments and conversations have you had on that land? It’s arsenal of secrets are infinite, I’m sure.
(Featured image by: Kaylie ‘Violet’ Starkey of Violet Visions)