Monday, June 1, 2015

Burning Man 2013 - That Year I Took Pictures (PT II)

Art Car awesomeness

The night before the Burn: I went over to my friends' other camp - I'll call them the first-timers, just because all three of them at that one camp were all there for their first time. The rest of the camp was composed mostly of veteran burners, though, so they were in good hands. :)

They were friends I'd been camping with before, friends I hung out with all the time in the default world, but I was finally seeing them in this extreme, liberated atmosphere. They were seeing me topless, in ruffled rainbow booty shorts now. It was a totally different me than they were used to. It's not that I don't like to show off my body other times of the year, it's just that I don't often get a chance to do it where it is considered socially acceptable and downright normal.

So, later that night, I came back and they had a special treat - some psychedelic paper, and another great mood enhancer. I went all over the playa and was so overstimulated by all the lights, the people, the energy, the parties, the madness, the happiness... I could feel it all, the thousands of people around me! It was all so beautiful!

I stayed up until flatlight - the first hints of dawn that begin to illuminate the desert - and eventually was able to fall asleep - until my Tarot-Reading friend came a few hours later and woke me up. That was the day of the man burn.

Waiting for the Man Burn
So, I was sleep deprived, and on some trippy tea - and our camp was headed out to watch the man burn. I schlepped one of my 2.5 gallon bricks of water in my bike basket - for when people got thirsty later, in the heat of the burn. It seemed like it took FOREVER until his arms came up, but I think that's because we were smart and came early.The anticipation was tangible in the air.

When he finally went up, the tea had already kicked in, and I felt like I could see all the authority in my life, all the bullshit expectations and people and places and oppressive systems in the Man - and all of it just blew up before my eyes. The Man burned down! Now it was time for a rebirth! Time to go find and do whatever I wanted without the burden of "The Man" looking down on me.

In 2011, after the man collapsed, people rushed in, and began running around the man like some primal, ancient ritual. Later, I met my friends in the middle of the chaos, along with a bunch of other people. I told random people to "Love Everyone!"

This year, I was already exhausted. When the crowd ran up, I of course ran up with them. But then everyone sorta just .... Stopped. I and some others tried to squeeze through the crowd, and people were pissed off because of it. I heard someone complaining "why the fuck would anyone want to run in all this smoke?" They don't understand the primal ritual, or participation, they just understand spectacle. *deep sigh* I felt defeated that the people were not moved to move by the amazing liberation I had just experienced.

I wandered around, starting to feel weak in the knees, trying to find center camp so I could navigate my way back to my fucking bike. I didn't even have the sense to just leave the water on the ground and brought it all the way back to camp with me. I guess my poor mind assumed it would be MOOP, and wouldn't think it through any farther than that. Another life lesson learned.

The next day, we were preparing to leave to watch the temple burn, thinking we'd be there WAY early, when we saw some fire and smoke on the horizon. By the time we got there, it had already collapsed. I was really sad about this. I had delivered a drawing to the temple for a friend who couldn't go that year. And I didn't see it go up in flames. It felt weird. One of my campmates started crying.

Packing up to go home

The next day, Fire Demon and I packed up and left, and I, for one, was weary and ready to leave. Days of drinking, other substances, and lack of sleep had finally caught up with me. I wasn't hung over, just tired. It was like my soul was tired and cranky. I'm sure leaving Home also made me a little cranky. And because there was SOOooooo much stuff, it was more difficult to pack back up. It is a Burning Man skill to pack as little as you can while still having enough to share. This year I was better prepared than my first year, 2011, but I had too much stuff.