Posts Tagged ‘burning man’

Yesterday I started writing this sappy syrupy sickly sad post called “Requiem for Love Lost.” Perhaps one day I will finish it. I was thinking about Gogo (who I saw last weekend!), T, and D. I am not a stranger to loss. And those are just the losses of the past six months. (Not really lost, in the case of the men… love lives on in friendship, but the loss of romantic love is something to mourn. sigh.)

Lately, I am really into living in the vibration that I want to be my reality. No use dwelling on what’s lost. What’s to come…. now that’s what I’m interested in at this very moment. And I just bought my ticket to Element 11!

What is Element 11? It’s Utah’s regional burn, the official regional Burning Man event ™, out at Seabase, somewhere on the Bonneville salt flats. It starts Thursday. I can’t get there until after my nephew’s wedding on Friday evening. Hmmph.

Looking over the description of the theme camps and events, I feel the rebirth already. There’s Camp Oasis of Transformation, with yoga and bodywork and even a “Transformation Testimony Meeting and Fashion Show.” These are my people!  Then there’s Anti-M’s Home for Wayward Art & the Artery, with an art station for creating stuff. The Black Rock City Canoe Club is setting up a communal kitchen for anyone to use, and is making grilled cheese and bacon every night (reminiscent of Bianca’s). The Giggle Collective is having banana splits and ice cream sundaes on Sunday. I’ll probably skip Viva Las Vegas camp’s banana blow job competition.

I first went to Burning Man in 2000 with some friends from San Francisco. I went again in 2002, which was a bit more challenging, as I was making the trip from New York (where i was living at the time). The 2003 burn was even more of a schlep. My ex and I (who i met at the 2002 burn) traveled all the way from Puerto Rico to Black Rock City, about two hours north of Reno.

So after six years, I’m easing back in, starting with Element 11. Compared to the 40,000 or so who attend Burning Man, there will be maybe 800 people at Element 11. I’m going to be in Pineapple camp, with my friends Mark and Kameron. I’m driving up with my friend Phidias, who I met via Twitter. I’ll teach yoga on Saturday and Sunday for anyone who wants to come. It’ll have to be spontaneous, because I can’t even imagine setting a schedule. I predict there will not be a lot of sleeping going on. Summer solstice is on Sunday — hallelujah!!! the longest night of the year!! — and there’s a solstice burn with offerings to Ra, the Sun god, at 3:45 a.m.

Tonight I pulled out my costume bin and started planning a mixture of old and new. I lost most of my burning man photos when my hard drive crashed five years ago, sadly. I wish I could share some of my creations. I spent two entire months in the summer of 2002 (visiting Utah while waiting for my nephew Logan to be born) going to Deseret Industries every day and making stuff. I found a coconut shell bra, and made a green fabric grass skirt to go with it. I made a lot of hats. My favorite was covered in moss and flowers. Paired with flowing green fabric wrapped into different styles, depending on my mood, I was an earth goddess. The year before, I dressed as the angel Moroni’s wayward sister. Gold body paint, gold spray-painted wig, gold lame fabric wrapped everywhere, and I carried a golden trumpet. That year, I drove out with a bunch of ex-mormons from Utah who created a temple and re-enacted certain ceremonies. But by then, I was connected to Asylum Village, where I stayed my last two years, with 300 or so amazing New Yorkers.

I usually changed costumes four times a day. I guess that was my contribution. At Burning Man, you are not a spectator. You are a participant. You can create whatever you can fathom. Friends from Brooklyn, part of the Madagascar Institute, created an Octopus on the far reaches of the playa. They welded the structure, 80 feet by 30 feet, covered it in fabric or fiberglass — i can’t remember. At the end of each tentacle, fire cannons erupted all night long. It was glorious.

People create beautiful art and burn it. And they make gifts they hand out. Or they just do random sweet things. My first year, at the end of the week, parched and dehydrated, I was walking along the esplanade (the first street in the series of concentric circles that make up the village) when a man offered me a tray of watermelon. Cold, crisp, perfectly cut into big cubes. I picked one cube. It was delicious. I kissed him and told him I loved him. It was such a random, perfect act. That to me is the essence of Burning Man. Unexpected kindness. Love. Vision. Creativity.

Last year, when I went to San Francisco for Heather and Stacy’s wedding, just after the ceremony, as the summer heat was overtaken by clouds, I handed them two fake fur coats. Heather told me later that it was a perfect Burning Man moment. They wore their coats the rest of the evening as protection against the cold.

There’s something about Burning Man. The sense of community — when you arrive at the entrance, greeters say, “Welcome home.” Just purchasing my ticket tonight, I feel like I’ve come home.

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