Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Overheard at the Renn Fest


“Now, there's something you don't see every day, Chauncey.”

My friend is alluding to a running gag from Jay Ward's brilliant 1960s series, Rocky and Bullwinkle, a show that we both grew up watching: two old guys, sitting on a park bench, commenting wryly on the weird ways of the world.

Catching her reference, I toss her back the feeder line: “What's that, Edgar?”

“A troupe of girls raising a cloud of dust as they dance the maypole,” she says.


Indeed. We're out at the Minnesota Renn Fest, watching the students of a local dance school go through their paces.

At Beltane, when these dances are usually performed, the grass would be green from the Spring Rains, but this is the ash-end of dry August. We won't be seeing the Autumn Rains for half a moon yet, and the girls weave and duck enhaloed in a golden sphere of dust.

Yesterday, I saw the year's first skein of geese fly low overheard, clearly a family group from a nearby lake: parents and their clutch of grown-up youngsters, taking a test flight for the Great Migration yet to come.


At the dusty end of Summer, a coven of girls dance the Spring Rounds, out-of-season.

We who were once young watch them, commenting on the world and its strange ways.

Overhead, a skein of geese flies by.




For Rudd, in Memoriam

Dance on


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Tagged in: aging maypole
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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