Today I had the chance to drive an unfamiliar route from my residence to the Feast of Tabernacles in Redmond-Bend, Oregon. Although my car, heavily laden with luggage, is not exactly very fast at moving uphill, this was not such a bad thing as it kept me in a relatively close caravan with a lot of other drivers along what would have been otherwise a very lonely road between Salem, Detroit Lake, and Sisters on the way to Redmond. I tend to find my life to be painfully lonely in the first place, so anything that tends to remind me of that loneliness, including miles and miles of forest bereft of human beings, 58 miles of road without a gas station, or too much time for me to get lost inside my own head because there were no radio stations that covered the territory I was driving during some parts in the middle.
Riding in a caravan, whether informally or formally, is not a new concept. Jesus Christ famously got left behind by his family while he stayed in the temple to discuss matters with the priests just before reaching the age of adulthood, because they thought that he was hanging out with peers in the caravan of families from their town. One of my more optimistic and romantic plays, “Song of Ascents,” deals with the thrice-yearly caravans that went from the towns and villages of Judea (and far beyond there) to the temple in Jerusalem for the Holy Day seasons. My short play, which was written with the intent that it could be used for a Feast of Tabernacles special program, on the suggestion of a minister who I happen to know, combined music taken from the songs of ascents (Psalms 120-134)  with a story about a widower and his teenage son who both find the festival experience conducive to finding courtship marriage, which is something that has been conspicuously absent in any remote way from my own feast experiences to date.
A caravan can serve many purposes. They can provide the comfort of company for those lonely travelers who would otherwise travel alone. They can provide safety to people traveling in groups among friends and family members and neighbors from dangerous roads and accidents that people can face that are more difficult when faced alone. They can also provide entertainment and a large group of people that can help support those tasks which can be somewhat burdensome. Yet it is hard for us to coordinate our efforts to keep in touch with other people. All too often, life is like cat herding . Still, being in a caravan can be immensely enjoyable if one goes about it the right way and can solve the logistical challenges of getting people to work together for the same purposes. If one can get a caravan of people to work together and work well, then perhaps one can develop the confidence to try to work together with others in more ambitious ways. Those are not my problems yet, though, so I suppose I will save them for another day.
 See, for example: