Peanut Butter

Not the crunchy kind, but the smoooooooth.

So, there we were, lumbering along in that same damn school bus, heading to the playa on Aug.1st to catch the precious dawn lighting that helps me pick out small wire flags at 2100′. I don’t have to tell you of the magic of a playa at sunrise, and this one poked it’s devil horns up over the mountains with a blood red morning.

Something about a sailor’s warning?

But, for the moment, we had near perfect survey weather with blessed cloud cover, and temperatures dipping into the 80’s.

As the sun snailed its way up, it found a random set of freak show clouds, and beamed the playa with this weird amber-like hue. And just like that, I was looking at this humongous just opened jar of peanut butter. The only nick in it was the golden stake I was straddling, and I was the one to cut the first knife marks into it. So, a careful boy I was, and one by one, we started setting the grand arc of the Esplanade. Later that morning, when we were setting the flag for the center camp cafe, I had the rare and once a year opportunity to step forward to what was now the top of the key, and gaze upon these freshly set flags that marked our Esplanade. At this point there were no wheel tracks whatsoever, or even a trace of a road, and these brand new, not yet dusty orange flags were sprouting out of virgin cracked playa like tender little seedlings. It’s like the city was a new born baby, only four hours old.

Little does it know…

Red in the morning, sailor’s warning, indeed, and we’ve been getting a steady diet of pretty ferocious thunder storms this past week. It’s getting it out of it’s system, right? Well things can get a little nail bitey around here when the weather kicks up, and a cloud burst last night gave the playa a good dousing. This is a bitter sweet thing. Bitter, because the clock is ticking the survey crew sits idle waiting for the playa do dry out, and sweet because it’s furthering the hardening of it’s surface. The more it gets soaked and dried, the harder it gets. If it keeps this up, we’ll have pavement for a playa! Besides, talk about the power house lightning shows, and the somewhere over the double rainbows! The other evening, we all sat in our lawn chairs watching these four-pot-o-gold dream bows, and when they finally wisped away, we just simply turned our chairs around and soaked in the encore of the Cecil B. DeMile sunset from god!

I’m not missing baseball that much.

By the way, as we were going about setting up this year’s grid, we noticed that the arc street called “Evidence” is the only one behind center camp that doesn’t go through. So that means that there will be five radial streets that will suffer from a lack of evidence. Coincidence? Naaaa!

It’s 3:00 pm, and I’m going out to the playa to see if it needs a few more quarters in the drier.

About the author: Tony "Coyote" Perez


Tony “Coyote” Perez has been coming to the Black Rock Desert to build and strike Black Rock City since 1996. Coming from the entertainment world as a professional musician for over twenty years it was an easy shift to become a strong community member of Burning Man. He co-founded the Department of Public Works of BRC in 1998 and has been the City Superintendent of the city ever since. Telling stories around the camp fire is among the things that he does best and has been blogging under the moniker of “Coyote Nose” for many years.

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