I'll tell you.
No, Burning Man isn't a giant rave in the desert. Despite what you've heard, it isn't really about music. It isn't about sex or drugs or nudity either.
|Burning Man 2009 - Open Playa|
|A 3-Story woman made from cables.|
It is about pushing ourselves to the limits just to see what we can do. It is about respecting our peers and giving them the space to be and do what makes them happiest. It is about realizing your own personal abundance and gifting the excess to everyone and anyone who happens by. It is the realization that everything we do - a hug, a shared story, a smile, a gin and tonic for a friend - is an experience, a gift of its own right. It's about Art. Or the idea that creativity doesn't live within the boundaries of success and failure.
|Yes I made this costume myself.|
It is about always striving to be a participant and never just a spectator.
And this year I am staying home. I stayed home last year, too, seven months pregnant and no way in hell was I interested in the physical toll that is living in a tent in a dried up dusty desert-hot lake bed. But my Handsome Mandude wasn't going, either, and I was content in taking a year off.
This year I am not pregnant. I am a Mama. And my Handsome Mandude is venturing down into the desert without me. And he is bringing two of my closest friends.
|Yours truly, FireHooping before we lit up The Man|
And maybe it is possible to bring a baby to Burning Man. But I wouldn't, and I would advise anyone thinking about it not to do it. I'm just not sure it is fair to bring a little person into a world so dusty, hot, overstimulating, borderline dangerous, and overwhelming with no real means of escape. At least not until they can communicate to you about it.
I guess I'm just feeling nostalgic about the whole thing. About the freedom of it all, to be myself and to be fearless about it. Nostalgic about the people that I've met there, the friendships I have made. The incredible art that people work so hard to drag into the desert for me to climb on, experience, and enjoy.
|This Cape used to be a tablecloth.|
The ability to wear whatever I want; a tutu, a fur bikini, a bad-ass road warrior leather ensemble, or a giant red cape made from my friend's old silk tablecloth. I'm remembering the cool desert evenings filled with rushing to eat, clean, dress, be ready for the chill and excitement of the dark dark night. The laughter and spontaneity of riding our blinky glowing art bikes through dunes of playa dust, veering from structure to structure, covering miles of rock hard earth just to seek out a little bit of adventure and exhilaration. I'm wistful over that feeling at the end of the week, covered in a dust so fine that no amount of washing seems to take it off, bursting with desire to create, create, PARTICIPATE, climbing the highest art piece and shouting my poetry into the dust storms. Seeing The Man explode with fire, the culmination of all our excitement and experience, until he dwindles down to nothing but embers, ashes, nuts, and bolts.
I'm feeling nostalgic about The Temple, the most quiet and sacred space at Burning Man, built carefully with intricate details, then flooded with emotion literally stapled, written on, and pinned to its wooden walls. Then on the last day, fifty thousand people gather silently - absolutely silently - and solomnly watch it burn down. Let me just say, there is something beyond magical about being one of fifty thousand quietly contemplating all that it means to see the week end and the temple burn to the ground.
|Temple in Daylight|
|Temple at Night|
|Handsome Mandude and I|
there were good things and magnificent things
and bad things and horrific things and i saw them all,
i experienced them all, and they made me different.
i blocked the sun and i made it shine,
i helped and hindered time
and allowed this mass to hurtle onwards.
i rolled my eyes and rolled my tires
over dunes of pure dust, through walls of it,
rolled in it, slept in it, basked in it.
i climbed on creation and filled my eyes
and my hands, my mouth.
i was part of an awe-filled silent crowd
and i joined gangs of animals
surging out loud.
it seethed and was frigid,
it was comforting, chilling.
i swung and was flung,
and we laughed, we wove stories,
we shimmied, we shared, and we cried.
we created community and we burned it all to the fucking ground
just to see if we can do it again next year.
just to see if we can do it again next year.