Feeling the Burn

"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.


  • 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

  • Leaned in

  • Leaned out

  • 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....