A mystery woman on the Playa rode up on her bicycle and moments later rode away again. But in those few moments a picture and a memory evolved. It may not be as dramatic to some as the original “Woman in White, a novel by Wilkie Collins. But she was my Woman in White and she was not an apparition.
Just before she rode up my friends and I had chanced upon the Co-operative Sculpture of a full size tepee and circles of self portrait sculptures of the artists. The sculptures were seated in circles on the desert floor in groups of three or four holding hands. Each circle had a gap in which a pARTicipant could sit and become part of the work. As I sat in one of the circles I realized the sculptures were nudes and that is the way to really become one with the whole scene. So, I took off my clothes, hid them behind a sculpture, and sat back down. We took another round of photos and I rose and dressed. That is when the Woman in White came on the scene.
She was a vision in white against the white backdrop of the Playa. Her flowing white summer dress and large white floppy hat set against her Mediterranean complexion and dark hair made a stunning impression on me. As she looked over the artwork I noticed a point and shoot camera hanging from her wrist. I asked if she would like me to take a picture of her sitting in the circle and she handed me the camera. She sat down and I took several snapshots. As she stood up I told her of my obsewrvation that the statures were nude and told her what I had just done. With no hesitation she whipped off her floppy white hat and the flowing white dress and sat back down. I took a few more pictures with her camera and asked permission to take one with my own SLR. She said yes. I tool a few shots, she stood up, dressed, and rode off into the Playa as suddenly as she had appeared. I never saw her again during the remainder of the burn.
As I left the Playa I wondered who she was. Should I have asked for her name, or how to contact her? Or would that have ruined the moment? Well, maybe I’ll see her on the Playa this year. I’ll be looking for the Woman in White.