Tag Archives: brc
It’s our Woodstock. It’s our Haight and Ashbury. It’s the place the Merry Pranksters would have created had things not gotten quite so out of hand. Or maybe that’s inaccurate. Maybe it truly is something else entirely.
I know for sure it is a place of exploration. It is a supreme return to the instinctual id while keeping some version of your ego and identity. Where you do everything exactly right. And when you do manage to fuck up, you couldn’t hope to find a more perfect time and place to do it. We remember how to play, and laugh, and eat candy, and stay up late. How to figure things out and entirely exit your comfort zone. To get weird and talk nonsense and be completely understood. To walk all night, inhaling dust and dancing holes into the ground.
When your body wears out and you weep from the extreme emotions of sleep deprivation you begin to feel the powerful weight of this place. A steep and unwieldy emotional roller-coaster that assists you in shaking off the comfortable persona that you’ve spent years creating for yourself: I am this, I do this, I feel this, I react to this. Once you realize this is a place you can be/do/feel anything, the possibilities you begin to create for yourself and your life are amazing.
We burn a man down on Saturday. I see it as a last hurrah. The entire week is building up to this moment. The population is at its peak. The art is all finally finished and functioning. The parties are the loudest, longest and insanely unmatchable. You get to a point where who you used to believe you were sort of vanishes in the madness and you’re left with whatever version of awesome you have the nerve to continue being.
Then Sunday we burn the temple. All week long people write on the temple. Messages to people they have lost or things that they want to let go of. (I think sunrise after losing your mind all night is the best time to do this because you are most tuned in and in the most raw emotional form possible for honestly expressing yourself.) When we burn the temple the party is over; it is a silent moment of introspection and enormous flames. Somehow with the falling of those last logs you are released. Cleansed of that year’s collection of baggage and bullshit and suffering. Reborn, renewed, reawakened to the beauty of this life and the right way to treat each other and the endless possibility for love and harmony and being whoever the hell you want for the rest of your life.
If done just right, what I’m telling you is that Burning Man is an excellent opportunity for accelerated personal evolution… if you’re into that kind of thing. As a wise friend of mine once said, “It’s only a bad trip if you come back the same person.”
Once upon a time I went to play putt-putt golf at three in the morning. It was Monday morning at Burning Man 2008. The gates had just opened three hours before so a good amount of dust was in the air. Dust lit by the headlights of a thousand cars pulling out into the open desert of Black Rock City, Nevada.
I had spent that whole day decking out my bike, well, between riding it out to the man, building our camps first chrome-dome and killing a big ole bottle of Carlo Rossi with whomever was around. She looked damn good. A big wire basket on front, an American flag wrapped around her frame(Amer. Dream theme that year), and best of all a 6 ft. pvc pipe sticking out of the back like a tail, with fabric in all the colors of the rainbow tied to it. That’s how she got her name, rainbow -> Bowrain. And look at her glow. Twelve feet of yellow and blue E.L. wire lit her up on her maiden voyage that dusty morning. In her basket was my bag, my camera, my new glow poi, and a variety of other toys and accoutrements.
I’ll just say this was my third year at the burn and I had never locked my bike or anything up before. I was misguided due to all my previous experiences at the burn being so based in love and community. I never expected one of my nearest and dearest in this world, a fellow burner, to be faced enough to run off with my bike. Wrong. After a gruesome 18 or so holes of putt-putt my friend Ocho and I return to our place of parkage to find my beautiful and newish baby Bowrain evaporated.
Gone, absent, missing, unavailable, and no more. I was in shock, then I was a little angry, and then just hurt and sad. I spent a hefty part of that week coming to terms with a few things: the literal loss of property (an estimated $650 worth of crap on two wheels); the meaning of releasing ones material possessions as a means of transformation and personal growth; and also for the first time traversing the BRC on foot and art car and borrowed bikes only. I went to the Black Rock Radio one day and asked the masses over radio waves to keep an eye out for her. I had all seventy plus members of my theme camp looking for her as they explored the nooks and crannies of our great city. To no avail. The daily trips to circle around center camp were fruitless as well.
So then it was Friday night, the city was built, the man would be burned tomorrow. The weekenders had arrived and if you haven’t been I’ll just say this: the shit is blown up. The city is throbbing with an energy only describable as chromatic, psychedelic, cosmic, seamless, perfect… well timed. There truly is no describing it. It ropes you in, to say the least. I find myself standing on the roof of a silver Sphynx, dancing…
And someone calls my name. Your bike LOOK!! We run down the stairs and bust out of the double doors and a woman is standing right there, RIGHT THERE! with Bowrain!! I was too happy to even suspect she had stolen it. I released all negativity and regret and attachment and she came back to me, that Bowrain. We must be meant to be. The woman said it was sitting in front of her camp all week and she thought if she brought it out someone would recognize it. The light I had left on was dead, as if it had been abandoned. Every damn thing in the basket was still in its perfect place. And the girls camp was literally around the block from putt-putt. Someone obviously needed a little joyride and then ditched her in a moment of spunion glory on two wheels. It was a beautiful moment.