New Year’s volunteering: 01-02-2014

We had less help for the second day of the big New Years festival, but that’s okay, it was a lot slower.  At no point did we run out of parking or have traffic backed up onto the road. 

The morning started early, although without misogi, so less early and less chilly.  We met in the Shrine, and Sensei gave us a pep talk, reminding us that the slower day could be harder.  He was right, too; on the 1st, there was no time to realize you were cold or your feet hurt or whatever, just to keep going.

We had radio oddness, with someone else on the channel.  We changed channels, which wasn’t a big deal.  We parked cars.  We waved to people.

I had time to talk to some of the other volunteers.  We all know the oddest things.  Some things overlap and some things don’t.  I noticed that one of the signs in the shrine points out that Ugamitama-no-O-Kami is enshrined at Tsubaki America.  I’d seen that before, but what I’d missed was that is Inari.  Tsubaki America is an Inari shrine!  I should have known, and missed it.

One of the volunteers said, “Cool, huh?” and another said, “Inari?  Who’s that?”

Later, talking about Shinto, the same volunteer who knew Tsubaki America hosted Inari hadn’t heard some of the other myths.  I played storyteller, standing there telling what I could recall.  Somehow, I’d read that and they hadn’t.

Everyone has different experiences, and different things that stick with them.

At 4:00pm, we closed the gates.  We packed everything up and broke the tents down.  What took a day and a half to build came down in about two hours.  It all got squared away, and the shrine grounds went back to their normal, peaceful configuration.

Most of the volunteers had left already.  Steve-san and I were packing up to go, and Sensei and Barrish-san came to thank us and say goodbye.  They said it would be no trouble if I wanted to stay another night, which was thoughtful and kind, but I knew Mom and Dad would be looking forward to my getting back, so I headed out.

I got back to Mom and Dad’s, tired but full of energy and pleased at having helped make the New Year start right for so many people.

Don’t know what my schedule will allow for next year, but I hope to be able to help again.

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