By: Linsley Oaks, LuxEco Living Editorial Assistant
Running across a field might seem like the last thing anyone should do after slinging $12 dixie cups of liquor to festival goers for 12 hours, but hey- its Coachella! Like escaped zoo animals, my fellow bartenders and I made haste to catch dangermau5’s set at the end of the first night (which ROCKED by the way). We zigged and zagged through the meandering crowds; dodging those still standing and jumping over those down for the count.
As we burst through the outer perimeter of the gathering at dangermau5’s stage, the bass was already reverberating in my sternum and massaging my heart beat. This was just what I needed after hours and hours of talking to people: to be engulfed by music so loud people just shut up and listened and let the music take them. Joining the dancing core of the crowd, my sense of self began to dissolve and the bodily knowledge of being a small part of something much bigger than myself took hold. When the music is good, and loud, and the bodies moving to the rhythm are numerous, something magical happens. We loose ourselves in an abyss of commonality and “oneness” and in a very real sense feel just how our own minute actions effect the whole. With every thrust of a shoulder or slant of a hip, your movements as an individual impact and shape the whole shape and feel of the crowd.
Loosing myself in the organized chaos and finally letting go of the stresses of the day I felt connected to everyone around me- as if we were all single cells of the same body. Suddenly, I felt the left arm of that body fall limp. Looking over, one fellow cell had collapsed and was having a seizure- too many drugs I assume (given the colored lights that were affixed to his gloves). Everyone in the area backed up and gave him room as his friend stuck his fingers in his mouth to stop him from swallowing his tung. Looking over to the surrounding sides of this still circle, the crowd was still a living organism pulsing with life to the beat spewing from the speakers. As far as anyone more than 5 feet away from the scene was concerned, life on the dance floor went on as usual.
I remember my first reaction was ‘balance’; or rather, ‘out of balance’ as in balance was the very thing this individual lacked to an acute degree. And how this individual cell of the dance floor being out of balance had effected the organism as a whole. It reminded me of how cancer is explained on a biological level, or pollution, and other kinds of diseases both humanistic and ecological. This kid had polluted himself too much, had not made sustainable choices (in his case too many drugs and not enough water), and it had effects that reached far beyond his individual body. It took an impressive 15-20 min for the paramedics to be notified and fetched with a stretcher. During that time, the crowd pulled back enough to give him some air and people in the inner circle stopped dancing all together. The environment that was the dance floor was deeply impacted by the actions and re-actions of one person that was a part of it.
This experience will always make me remember that my actions as an individual do matter, no matter how lost in the sea of humanity I may be; no matter how great the number I am one out of. If I maintain balance in my own life, I am contributing to the balance of the whole. I think that is an important lesson to keep in mind when we, as individuals, face the environmental challenges we are facing today. More than knowing that out choices as individuals matter and do have an impact on the big picture, it is also knowing that we might- at any moment- be dancing as if nothing is going on 5 feet from someone having a seizure.