Post Burning Man Post

So sometime around last Thursday, the ability for my brain to process what was going on completely halted. I know many of you were watching our escapades closely, and I apologize for the delay in completing our journey accurately.

We did make it to the Temple of Promise for sunrise. The expected chanting did not occur, but it was still a powerful moment.

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Afterwards, my dad set off to deep playa to take photos of the less official artwork, my mom headed back to the RV, and I took one last journey through the spiral of the temple in an effort to release all the things I brought with me that needed to be released. My dad’s illness. My failed relationships. Toxic people. It was crowded, I slowly made my way through, found my bike, and rode away like a warrior. That was my last visit to the temple, and oddly, I did not need to see it burn as I expected. The fact that it burned on Sunday was enough.

Later that morning we headed to the other side of town. My parents talked to god.

 

 

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They also sat in a swing.

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And ate some pancakes

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A storm was brewing – the weather was expected to be quite gusty, and we wanted to get back before getting caught in another white out.

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Thursday night I had to work as Temple Guardian again, and again it was a great experience. I met a couple from Illinois who offered to cuddle with me while we watched the music, because it was freakishly cold. That night it got down to 37 degrees and I made my mom turn on the heater.

I don’t have many photos from Friday. I ran around town on my own, meeting people, dancing, drinking weird punch from my dusty cup. That afternoon, we were trapped in our RV for a few hours. The dust and wind were crazy. My dad edited photos, I drew, my mom did puzzles. We could watch the people go by on the street, but it was strangely quiet. And it was the only time I felt a little grouchy.

My parents were working Friday night, which was the biggest night for Sacred Spaces. Apparently somewhere in the realm of 5,000 people were expected on our smallish dance floor. I planned to go out that night, but it was chilly and I was tired. I ended up through all the parties.

I’m realizing this blog series feels anticlimactic. We are now at Saturday, the day of the burn, the day all the weekenders have showed up and the city is at full capacity. Black Rock City becomes the second largest city in all of Nevada, maybe just for this one night. It will sound weird if you haven’t been, but I could have easily left before the man burned and been completely satisfied with my experience.

That being said, I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

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I sat on the ground, about four rows back at around 1:30 (on the map). I was surrounded by people I did not know. The members of the fire enclave performed after the man raised his arms.

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The fireworks were like none I’ve ever seen. When my dad finishes editing his photos, I will post a link here. He captured the burn itself quite magnificently.

We got up Sunday morning and worked in the kitchen, helped break down camp, said our goodbyes. Initially we planned to stay through the temple burn at 8 p.m., but with all the driving we had to do, we decided to leave earlier. The drive that took us 14 hours the previous Sunday only took 7, and we were showered and in bed by 10 or so that night. I only had to wash my hair four times to get most of the dust out.

People keep asking me if I had fun at Burning Man. Well, yes. I had fun. I saw things that blew my mind. I spent time with my parents in a way you don’t often get to do once you are a grown up. I met people in a way I would never meet people in the real world. I laughed more than I remember laughing, I felt magic like I’ve never known. I was also fortunate enough to save my complete emotional breakdown for after I got home but before my boys came back to stay with me. Perfect timing.

Thank you all, again, for watching our journey. I have told you about 1% of what happened to us there. And we saw about 1% of what went on. I’ll be going next year….until then:

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What day is it again?

As the city continues to grow, internet becomes a precious commodity. I have not been able to get connected all day on WiFi and only sporadically on cellular.

We made it back from our dust adventure from my last post – I’m honestly having trouble determining if that was yesterday. It was the 1st of September according to my computer, and today must be the 3rd, although it is 2:30 in the morning as I type this. Time does not really exist here as fluidly as it does in the default world.

Tuesday night/morning I had to work a shift in camp called Temple Guardian. In the day, Sacred Spaces offers workshops and yoga classes, and at night it turns into a stage and dance floor. The Temple Guardian’s job is to make sure everything is safe and respectful at all times, to keep the temple’s clean, and generally be the adult in the room during the party. I reported at 1:30 a.m., dressed in white, and patrolled the perimeter of the camp. I expected drunken mayhem, and was shocked at the level of respect people paid to our space.

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This guy was parked outside. The Art Car seems to be the way to get around town. Far easier than all this pedaling.

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We had fire dancers show up.

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And this cool screen that created laser images of the dancers

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My shift was three hours long and it went by quickly. It was interesting to be completely sober during a dance party in the middle of the night. One guy walked up to me and said “You look like you need a hug.” We hugged, he exuded alcohol from his skin, and I asked his name. “They call me Tree.” And then he was gone, back on the dance floor.

After a nap and a snack, we set out to try and find two sets of people. Finding people in Black Rock City is nearly impossible. You basically go to their camp and ask around for them. If they happen to be there and someone happens to know them, you might find them. We needed to make it to Pink Heart, where the magically people live who found me a spare ticket and recommended us to Sacred Spaces. (You have to apply to be a part of this camp, and know someone who can recommend you.) Our people were not around, but we loaded up on some delightful cucumber water and took a photo under the heart.

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We also got to meet the famous Halcyon, who makes wonderful videos about how to prep for Burning Man. I was happy to personally thank him for creating this for the community. What a gift.

Since my friends weren’t there (never fear, I went back later in the day and met them all. Such joy.), we tried to track down Snow Queen and King, who you might remember we met in line however many days ago we were in line. We found their camp, asked around, and were finally directed to their tent, where they were happily sleeping. My dad – no surprise – stood outside the tent and called their names. Snow Queen made an appearance shortly thereafter, and we were reunited with our roadside friend.

People who come here frequently tend to have rituals. They always get grilled cheese at 3, or make sure they hit the carcass wash by 5. Snow Queen goes to the Lavender Lounge each morning, where they offer scalp massages and spritzing with lavender water. Your eyes are covered with a mask, so the sensory experience is heightened. Quite refreshing out here in the dust.

As we were walking back, we met QuPid, one of the many men who created a reenactment of the Trojan War a few years back.

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He even let us all try on his helmet.

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I found a sign that accurately described my sentiment from the morning

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And so did my dad.

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It was getting quite dusty, and we didn’t want to be late for brunch. We said goodbye to the magical Snow Queen and headed back through another storm to eat. The food in our camp is absolutely delicious, and we eat twice a day with our community. I have quite enjoyed this gathering time to hear what everyone is up to throughout the day. Every single person is having a unique experience here. My experience is not even the same as my parents, and we are living ten feet away.

I decided to venture out on my own in the afternoon after a short nap. I did not take my phone, so you’ll have to imagine my adventure. I was finally able to connect with my friends at Pink Heart and thank them for the gift they have given my family. I then parked my bike and walked around the neighborhood a bit, empty cup in hand, drinking libations from various camps along the way. I climbed to the top of a 5 story tower in the middle of a dust storm, and sat at the top while the structure swayed in the wind. After a few hours I headed home, through another huge dust storm across the playa. When I returned, I was completely covered – this is my leg, and you can see where my socks were quite clearly

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And a photo inside the RV – the winds were blowing up to 25 miles an hour today, and keeping the dust out became an impossibility.

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Right now it is eerily quiet. It’s a bit after 3 in the morning, and soon we will be heading out to the main temple to participate in a ceremony called the White Party. We will gather at the temple at sunrise, and hold in a circle and chant OM, setting an intention for peace and love in the world. Someone is measuring the frequency of the energy created by this collective. I’m hoping we get to hitch a ride on our camp art car, as the ride out to the temple is long and the wind hasn’t died down all that much.

I will try to post again tomorrow night. I have a temple shift again at 1:30, and Friday begins a lot of the burning of various structures. The man himself will burn on Saturday night. I only have a vague grasp of these times. I know there are a few events I don’t want to miss, but it is completely impossible to see and do everything. I am bathed in amazement.

Sending you all our love and positive energy this morning. Thank you for the gifts you bring to our lives back in the default world – we are all quite grateful.

A note about dust

From the photos, one might imagine Burning Man is a dirty place. This dust does not feel dirty. Quite the opposite, it seems to draw the oils – and all other moisture – out of your hair and skin. I may come home with dreadlocks, as every time I try to brush my hair I find more tangles that are matting together.

The magical opening ceremony for Sacred Spaces started somewhere around 7:30. People gathered, drank coffee, milled about. Someone even vacuumed a bit. So did my mom for a bit – I think my dad took that picture.

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I didn’t take any photos of the ceremony itself, as we were busy participating. We meditated and blessed the space, and walked the perimeter of our camp with sage. Peaceful, healing, powerful energy surrounded everyone. Beautiful.

This is one of the sails that decorates the main stage.

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After filling ourselves with love and light, we set out to the playa for a bike tour, highlighting some of the art pieces that received funding from the festival.

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Medusa. Kind of my hero.

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Before we started, before the storm hit.

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Things are getting dusty in the background here, next to a sculpture of a rattlesnake.

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A little more clear near the squid. This piece has handles on the sides that participants can operate to move the tentacles.

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Part of three pieces, all cast out of bronze. I cannot imagine how much they weigh.

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For those of my dad’s Scout family who are reading, the above photo represents the gold thing. For those who aren’t, touching the gold thing is a sense of completion. I believe it comes from the gold thing in the rocks on the top of Squaw Peak. If you only climb halfway, you can’t touch the gold thing, therefore you did not go.

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We learned more about this sculpture today, before the tour was cancelled due to white out conditions. She is called Our Evolution. I think. And at parts of the day she moves, and sometimes breaths.

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The temple, in a growing storm.

We went inside together, we each wrote something on the walls, my mom and I cried a bit. Which isn’t a great idea when you’re wearing fake eyelashes in a dust storm.

Shortly after this photo, the entire playa was engulfed in dust. We attempted to keep up with our group as we rode headlong into the wind. One of the more surreal moments of my life, I pedaled forward, only guessing on the direction. I walked my bike a bit, and when forms began to appear out of the haze, my mother walked towards me. It is an image I will keep in my head from this journey. My mom coming back for me during the storm, even as she struggled herself.

We are mostly dusted off, fed, rested, and ready to go experience some more.

Thank you all for your comments, and for reading along. We are blessed to have you all in our lives.

Opening Day at Sacred Spaces

This morning our camp opens to the public. Sacred Spaces offers workshops and yoga throughout the day. I don’t have much time to post, we are off to meditate and bless our camp. But I was able to upload a few photos this morning.

In the background you can see our main stage. This is made out of painted lycra sails attached to a center pole.

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A few hexayurts are in our camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A view down 4 o’clock, looking out toward the man. It is a beautiful morning here. 50 degrees and breezy.

 

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Looking down Geek, you can see the moon above the mountain.

 

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An art car passing by yesterday afternoon.

 

 

 

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And one last night.

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Must run. Sending you all positive energy and love from the playa. We are surrounded by incredible people and are all grateful to be here.