"How was Burning Man?"
Since I've been back from my most recent sojourn in the desert (this was my fifth), I've gotten that question a lot. And I've been at somewhat of a loss about how to answer it. So, I thought I'd try here.
WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION
Felt my heart surge at the sight of the becostumed gate greeters, jumping out of their skin to welcome us back Home
Worked my edge and lovingly assaulted passers-by with a megaphone, luring them over for a taste of our camp's special offering of absurd generosity
Felt in flow, connected, and magical
Felt awkward, alone, and melancholy
Roamed the playa at night arm-in-arm with old and new friends--drinking in the spectacle and pouring our hearts out to one other
Held space as a dear friend collapsed in searing grief and joined her in the dust
Camped one night in a giant metal garlic clove (okay, a Russian sauna shaped like one)
Bumped up against the evanescence and malleability of the thoughts that we spin our worlds out of and the arbitrary walls that we erect
Took in the tender, heartbreaking sight of a brave young man connecting with his family on the phone just after learning that his mother had suddenly died
Celebrated as two wonderful and wacky campmates sealed their bond in a Not-Marriage ceremony that was by turns deeply touching and outright hilarious.
Was kissed by cool mornings, beaten down by scorching afternoons, and embraced by chilly nights
Reveled in questionable wardrobe choices, to include lighted horns, a unicorned pink tanktop, a bedazzled vest, neon leggings, psychedelic short shorts (yeah, even shorter than you're thinking), and Cookie Monster pajama bottoms
Got a huge blister on my right heel and dust E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
Shared raucous family dinners with my exuberant tribe
Led a large group under a parachute in an exercise to drop obstacles to vulnerability and connection
Left offerings in the temple for dear ones (and dear ones of my dear ones) who have passed on or are hurting, and prayed to be released from my own particular brand of suffering
Was petty and judgmental and annoyed and frustrated
Was profound and accepting and delighted and supported
Fell ridiculously in love with an entire camp
Danced my ass off
Celebrated a recovering friend's heroic airlift to the playa, and mourned her too-soon departure after a sudden accident
Ran into my default-world neighbor who lives around the block from me 2000 miles away
Sat on a cool front porch in an empty stretch of blazing hot desert for an impromptu sing-along with guitar and bass
Said (more than once) OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I GET TO BE HERE
Said (more than once) OMG GET ME THE FUCK OUTA HERE
Lost every item in my tent at least 15 times a day
Was pelted with grilled cheese, snow cones, bacon, lemonade, mists of cool water, margaritas, art projects, coffee, funky music, wild dance moves, smiles, high fives, and other gifts as I wandered the streets of Black Rock City
Was transfixed by the biggest, most beautiful fire I've ever seen and deeply felt its pull as a primal and sacred symbol
Was continually beguiled by the divine wink revealed in an endless flood of wit, whimsy, and lush creativity
Was swept away with gratitude for the wonder that is my life
In other words, the usual. Just another Burn....