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…
Ethan Zirin-Brown photo cred
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.
actual moment of reunification