I returned from Black Rock City, Nevada in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, my virgin year at Burning Man now ensconced in my personal history book. Many have asked me to describe the experience, but the truth is that I cannot do it justice. Though I am a verbose writer, I, oddly, lack words to share the depth of peace, personal transformation, interconnectedness, humanity, love, and so very much more that came from those eight-plus days on playa. I have always been big on connecting to and with places and spaces -- feelings engendered when, say, I walk down a familiar street that evokes memories of a different time in my life. The days I spent at Burning Man blew away every other place, every other experience, by miles. For example, I compare my first moments in the Temple of Whollyness to the moments when I first held my children. There is something so primal, so deep about the feelings one has in that space that are simply timeless, indescribable, and more beautiful than you can ever imagine -- unless you, too, have been there, in which case you understand.
"Welcome home," the greeters say as one passes through the City's gates. Given the blessing of a ticket from a friend who has also experienced divorce and turning 40 within the past year, I had no idea what "home" on the playa would feel like, completely unplugged and disconnected from life as I knew it. And it turns out, it felt more like home than any place I have lived because that intentional community is one that requires an ideal balance of independence and interdependence, self-reliance and radical participation (some of the tenets of Burning Man, which I encourage you to read here). It is a space of pure, unadulterated freedom, the likes of which I had never known. It is a place of pushing boundaries, testing limits, refocusing, setting intentions, seeking peace, making friends who become like family pretty darned fast ... And it is also fun beyond one's wildest dreams. It is not for everyone, but it is for me. I am a permanent resident of Black Rock City now, and I cannot wait until the next burn.
Share my joy by looking through some of my favorite shots from my time on playa.
The Temple of Whollyness:
Reminder in the Temple:
"Happily Ever After Anyway" -- Another reminder:
The Man, at Night:
The Man, Burning:
Our camp's art car, the Zeppelin:
My favorite sculpture, Truth is Beauty:
Message inscribed on the base of Truth is Beauty:
And at night:
Oh, the irony of someone dressed as Santa in this one:
And yes, there were costumes. This was, perhaps, my most ridiculous one, for the Unicorn Stampede -- because if I have to turn 40, I'm going to have some fun with it.
There are many more pictures, but I will sign off with my favorite one -- not something I made, but something I found as I biked in the deep playa, a sign, if you will, that sums up my Burning Man experience: if I had to put it in words, it would read "my heart is so full."