The Magic of Burning Man
Images above from George Krieger
Burning Man, how I love thee... let me count the ways...
I have been to That Thing In The Desert a few times now and every single year it is different and more glorious than the past. I have been in a relationship, married, separated (but still camping together), and single. Each variation was beautiful and held its own unique and perfect life lessons. Each year a fresh perspective and intention going in... and love, compassion, beautiful sadness, gained knowledge and awareness as I left.
For those of you who question whether it is the experience for you, I will answer with the same answer I give when someone asks about skydiving.... It is not for everyone. From my new soul mate Maeve, "Burning Man is NOT by any stretch of the imagination EASY. It is HARD, very hard." Having said that, it can be everything your wildest dreams can conjure up or it can be the thing nightmares are made of. The physical elements alone are harsh and unforgiving. Dust, dust, and more dust.. everywhere and in every crevice of your body. I had a nose bleed 10 of the 12 days I was on the Playa this year. But it is manageable, otherwise 70,000 humans would not migrate there year after year. It is based on radical self reliance, which means you come to the desert with EVERYthing your body will require to survive seven days in a harsh desert climate. Day time temperatures are in the 90s and drop quickly to the 40-50s in the evening. I have known burns to drop below freezing at night. If this sounds like something you are willing to endure to experience the best of humanity, a community like no other on this planet, a gathering of humans where the love and energy is literally palpable... then YES, yes it is for you.
After having taken a year off I was nervous and excited to get back out there. I already live a pretty alternative lifestyle but it is still a culture shock to me... honestly I can not imagine how corporate 9-5ers handle the shock and decompression. I am still reeling and dizzy from the bonds of new friendships and adventures that happened last week.
Since my second Burn I have been going out a week early (pre event) to help build the city. This is such a rewarding experience! Being around other burners that are there to help build and put together Burning Man is truly what the whole thing is about, you are there to give and help in any way that you can. Coming early and putting my own sweat and hard work into our camp and our neighbors camps is very rewarding and a great way to get to know people.
When the gates open people start trickling in and we welcome them home with open arms. Old and new faces fill up the camp and I venture out to meet with friends camping at other locations. Honestly its almost impossible to actually schedule a meeting or anything really... you have heard or experienced 'island time', well it is the same out there. No one has a watch, I try to plan everything around sunrise or sunset which is the easiest way to mark the passing of time.
Slowly as the week goes on we build and add to camp, Rancho Sparkle Pony. We have a huge 36 foot dome, a fully stocked bar, Buda Lounge (with an amazing DJ), a fire stage for the fire performers, and an aerial rig.
Too Many adventures to recount but one of the most memorable was Friday night. After a long Thursday night of dancing and fire performances, I watched Friday's sunrise and headed to my tent to catch up on sleep. Celsius came back some time after noon with Michael, our photographer friend from Monterey, discussing Lisa and Chris Balthasar's wedding at the temple that evening. Celsius was going to spin fire for them as a gift with the BiG SuRCuS and I suggested we dismantle the aerial rig and bring the silks as well. Everyone was excited about the idea and so at about 4pm I grabbed everyone at the bar and we pulled the rig down and loaded it on the back of Stegatron, our trusty steed. Stegatron is Celsius' mutant art car, a souped up golf cart decorated as a stegosaurus (or as I like to call him, Space Dog)
We rode out to the temple with the whole gang in tow on bicycles, it looked like it was going to be a spectacular sunset! As we arrived at the location of the wedding the dust started to whirl around us, not bad at first... but steadily growing with the wind. We moved forward with the plan and started to assemble the aerial rig. Dust masks and goggles on, everyone moved in perfect harmony and the rig was up in minutes in a dust storm.
We waited out the dust storm by taking turns on the silks. In the background the temple played peek a boo as the dust swirled around us. The Dust slowly let up and eventually stopped just in time for the Anostraca to arrive with the wedding party!
A lovely woman, Amanda (Violin Girl), was playing electric violin on the Anostraca's bow. We preformed a duet together, her strings and my silks as the sun dipped below the horizon.
Sunset at the temple with a pirate ship, live violin, aerial silks, fire performers, and all of your closest friends... The wedding was far more than faerie tale! And like it began... as soon as the fire performances were finishing up another dust storm swept through the party.
In a full white out and with the perfect amount of help we pulled the aerial rig down and loaded it back on Stegatron. Again with a caravan of bicycles, Stegatron crossed the playa and headed back home for some much deserved Whiskey and ginger.
It was pure magic. An evening I (nor anyone involved) will not soon forget.
More Photos here