where do i begin? i’m a bit torn right now if i should even bother to get into this whole thought process. i guess if i had a job to go to, i could be focused back on the real world and my place in it. instead i’ve just been plopped back into my house in portland and i feel very turned around, the real world being a little more overwhelming than burning man itself.
i want to still be there.. so much so that i just bought on itunes some INSANE dance/techno/thumping music that i don’t think i’d ever want to hear in this world, but cause my soul is still stuck in black rock, i need this insane thumping twirling stuff to listen to. and the house is empty, so it is LOUD.
this was my second time at burning man, by far better. (how can it be better when the first time was the best?) yes, there is a lack of shock and awe this second time around, but because i knew what i was doing/where i was going/what would happen there, i felt totally at ease and open to ALL OF IT. that made it so much nicer. it was like going to a strange foreign city that you had been to once before. like the second time to london, still a huge place, but we sure figured it out quicker, right? so it was better. the best. (now i can’t wait for next year to be fucking BETTER BEST).
the wonderfulness started on the drive down… we were 4 friends in 2 cars and we caravanned from portland to black rock… we had walkie-talkies and sang songs about burning man to each other the whole way. and coming from portland is much better than coming through reno. we avoided all the major traffic from reno/sf/la/etc… we came with the much smaller set of folks from portland/seattle/canada. and as we got further away from portland and closer into northern california and nevada, the ratio of burner cars to not got bigger. started as 1 out of 10… 1 out of 5… every third car, until EVERY CAR on the road was a burner. (you can spot a burner car cause if it isnt a huge truck or uhaul or hippie VW, then it is least a car FULL of people and stuff with a bike rack and a roof covered in bags and shit and camping gear. we all wave and honk and blow kisses cause we all know were headed HOME. and yes, when you see other burners on the road or at the gas stations in the small towns before the desert, everyone hugs and says WELCOME HOME. such love.
we got in around 2am… but it took a couple hours to get through the gates and sort things and find our camps… by 4ami was settled-ish at my campsite, which was great real estate, as i’m so lucky to ride on the coattails of a great camp out of SF, FREESTYLE PALACE… who also host the LAWYERS FOR BURNERS – an organization of burner lawyers that offer free services to anyone in need if something arises on the playa. – so, now, what does one do at 4am on a monday morning when one just landed at burning man… ? well… drink and party of course and watch the sun come up and forget about sleep for a while!
PICTURES …. ! ! — please take a look at my small collection of only 100 or so…..be sure to read my titles on some.
hopefully it works as a slide show! but my favorites are coming up below.
suzy, i know you know many burning man details, but i wondered if you knew that there is a whole “carry your own cup” thing.. its actually best to get something you can attach to you. kid’s sippy cups work wonderfully. everyone is always ready to pour you some wine/water/beer/tikisomething/whatever, but now bar or cafe will have stupid plastic cups. you need your own. i had an old klean kanteen that went everywhere with me… sometimes it tasted like beer/yerbamate/wine/mystery. ! cause no, it was not washed once all week. i just thought you should know since you want to make a world where we all get a cup at birth and use it for everything. well IT DOES EXIST.
man, a whole week and a half in the high desert. a sand so alkalinic that life is not supported. but WE BRING LIFE THERE for a couple weeks every year. the only bugs at burning man are the couple of dead flies that come out of your camping gear. the only water is what everyone brings for each other. one giant sharing sharing sharing land. no$$, all love. “have-my-anything-you-want world…. “. again, the burts bees tied around my neck was loved by all and i realise next year i am going to make 50 burts bees on string and wear them out and give them all away.
this year also BLESSED ME because i stayed 2 extra days. the event peaks on friday and saturday (my least favorite days) at around 40-some,000. by sunday, people are high tailing out of there back to SF and to reno airport rides to australia and to LA and to work and wherever. the temple burns sunday and it is somber and wonderful and sad. i stayed another 2 nights until tuesday. and monday night was just me and 2 friends, all packed up and wondering the few small parties happening in the night. the tuna camp was pushing all their leftover tuna and food onto us for dinner. people were having bonfires and sharing the bottoms of whiskey bottles and having such an intimate time. tuesday morning we MOOPED our entire camp as a favor for those who had left earlier (this is the word for cleaning up MOOP – MATTER OUT OF PLACE – and the playa is meant to be left as it was found, every feather, glitter, leaf, and cigarette butt has to go home with you!)
here is a video made by a good dj this year. thank you ELITE FORCE (for your music and dancing and for making this video)
some photos of mine:
(oh, i guess i should explain that having a camera there was also very strange to me. last year i tried to capture everything. this year i even had my new fancy dancy SLR and once i got to black rock, i realized this thing isn’t really capture-able. which is ok, i told myself. a couple days i took snap shots with my tiny camera, a lot of which ended up too X rated for this blog. and otherwise, i FINALLY decided i should take my SLR out for a spin one evening when it was cool and nice out and not dusty.. the thing was it happened to be on the last day there around 7 pm. the party was closed, things were in de-construction, but it was still a surreal world. so that’s when some of these were taken)
the man (taken through my half shut lens) as the sun went down on saturday, just before it was burnt down. this year he was made of neon lights and sat atop a very surreal wooden jungle that you could walk around and explore.
this is THE TEMPLE. a magical place. built by human hands for all to come into and put away the bad things. they all burn away for us on sunday night and we can start the year fresh. the temple is full of emotion and tears and screaming and holding and writing on the walls and pictures of dead loves or lost loves or whatever it is you have to LET GO OF. the temple is for letting go. i put some pretty important things in there this year and had more then just a good cry. and on sunday night, when it burnt, i knew i would get what i had asked for from it.
one of the most beautiful times on the playa is sunrise. whether you are just going to bed, just waking up, or were trying to go to bed and some loves show up and took you out to see it….
these are called “yellow bikes” (though they are green) and there are thousands and thousands of them scattered around – they are community bikes: see one, use it. and then leave it somewhere public. granted, you may ride 3 miles to find yourself walking home, but hey, the playa provides.
this is the playa.
here, me and melissa are our dustiest, gray haired and all…
and what the hell would we do if we didn’t have the giant slide in the middle of nowhere to slide down and down?!
“fuck art, just here for breasts.” “art will save the world.”
this is the aftermath of the man on saturday. we walked in and around it. of course some yogis were walking on fire, i was too hot and i wondered away….
suzy, i am ensured that you will join me, if not next year, then the next. it’s something everyone should see, even if for a couple days. but of course a few days makes you want to stay the week and the week makes you want to stay the month. if i have the means and time, next year i will gladly volunteer to my camp and the greater city and stay out there a full 2 weeks, the week of the burn dead in the center. the build up and break down is the most magical part, and it feels so fulfilling when the weekend and the burn rolls around and everyone from everywhere shows up and you can stand back and just breathe and be glad you helped make it for them.
to everyone i know there, THANK YOU. melissa, thank you for showing me this place. reese, thank you for bringing me into freestyle’s camp and being my brother. thank you FREESTYLE and adisa and arty and kate. I LOVE YOU melissa and reese and sheena and dilan and chris and alex and flyn and katie and aziz and rachel. THANK U ALL.