Embrace

There was a lone structure burning on the desert.

Morning burn of Embrace by The Pier Group.

Morning burn of Embrace by The Pier Group.

The sexless giants stood erect over the world; they gazed into each other’s eyes, saying goodbye to the world that was, and embracing what was bound to come; their shadows formed dark tentacles that were nailed to the desert floor, mocking the light from the blazing fire.

The antique land was full of wanderers who had created a new Canterbury; the ashes from the lovers would be their new covenant, the relics of eternal love, their hope to carve shapes out of the chaos.

Two, among thousands, sat watching the colossal structure.

The sun now poured over the desert, devouring the purple darkness that once concealed the infinite plane like a cloak over fire. Its redness glowed over the boundless sand in every direction.

These pilgrims, rare and strange, watched as flames spun faster in the widening gyre, traveling through the eye sockets of the lovers, cleansing them of their organs; a purifying sacrament from some archaic time of witches and magic. Yeats was right, the center couldn’t hold.

The blood red sun illuminated the crowd.

They sat peering into the ageless stare of the lovers, hollow and calm, and discovered a portal that connected them to a common past.

They lived on this earth many years before. Before time was, they were in warm embrace.

They watched the world rise out of the water; they saw the belly creatures rise to a walk; and they witnessed the fatal curse of human pride. They watched one brother turn against his flesh, and they watched as men took machetes to their own kind.

The breeze danced lightly over the desert like a swarm of fairies flying towards a divine lantern. That thing deeply interfused in the rising sun and at the core of human souls drove them forward.

He inhaled deeply. She felt light against his arms.

This was anarchy; a love unbound by laws and rules. They were their own governance, their own gods. Their claim upon this earth was autonomous and pure and wholly their own. Without expectations or boundaries, they were free to traverse the secret corners of each other’s hearts.

The ancient couple melted under the heat.

They wept as war raged across the earth like helpless bystanders to a Greek tragedy. They knew the eyes of man would be plucked out and that they would blindly follow false gods of Vanity, Selfishness, and Pride.

As the fire’s song roared on through the crevices of the ancient lovers, the earth seemed to rejoice in its destruction; there was hope that chaos might bring new order; that it might call on others to carry the torch, as brave flag bearers march with resolution towards the jaws of needless death.

They watched as Rome was built from the dust, as ships set sail to discover new continents and cultures, and as man explored new frontiers beyond earth’s atmosphere.

She looked up at him with a soft smile; the light glittered in the ocean of her eyes.

They witnessed countless acts of kindness; those that occur in the quiet hours of life, but that fill it to the brim with meaning. They set Love on their altar; they made it their god.  

Stillness and peace fluttered through each of their hearts; they looked together at the sexless giants, towering over the land with grace and stoicism.

They celebrated the triumph of human will and intellect. They watched as Shakespeare and Keats wrote their great sonnets; those words were now the anthems of their soul.

The dance carried over the desert plain like a host of daffodils in the wind, weary pilgrims and curious travelers, swaying under the motion of all things, embracing the silence of dawn, all citizens of an alien land.

They watched as holes were drilled into the dark canvas of the sky, and they witnessed light being born from nothingness. They carried the torch over primordial darkness in hopes of discovering shelter and peace for generations to come.

He felt the soft swell of her chest; she felt her body fall back into his. They had always been, and would always be. Their touch connected them to the cool earth; they were part of the dust.

The spirals of smoke drifted across the desert, creating tornados of heat and dust. The crowd cheered louder as the lovers melted together, the wood dismantled, and they slowly fell apart.

They were one, as they had always been, fighting the sands of time. Their love had lasted a million years in this ancient land—she sat holding his hand—she had seen her lover buried in the dust time and again, and he watched as the flowers bloomed from her ribcage—he felt light with her in his arms—the dust soaked up the blood from the desert sun, forgiving human transgression for all time—they breathed as one, ageless and sexless.

In that moment, in their warm embrace, the light carried over the dark shadows, and glittered across the eternal plain. He knew she would soon go, you could see it on his face, but they had found shelter from the world to come in the stillness of the moment. Slowly those feelings of apprehension rooted in life’s brevity were washed away with the desert breeze. She felt peace in his company; the details would be washed away with the dust and distraction, but they would always remember.

Others watched this visage of two lovers, ageless and sexless; they were one.


by Mark Magellan

About the author: Tales from the Playa

Tales from the Playa

Tales from the Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by participants. Submit your story here.

4 Comments on “Embrace

  • Guper says:

    >The sexless giants stood erect over the world

    I thought one was a boy and one was a girl.

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    • Kevan says:

      They were designed and built to be genderless however, folks will see what they want to.

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      • Guper says:

        The big one doesn’t have breasts, but rather a masculine chest. Being larger than the other figure, if the artists were trying to convey that the figure is genderless then that’s somewhat confusing. I guess the smaller figure could be a man also but it’s sort of just smaller for no reason, and only suggests that it’s a female.

        I really don’t need to identify with art to appreciate it. Perhaps the whole meaning of the piece is to open up a dialogue about how what appears to be the most sensible description is actually only one of limitless possibilities because the artist said so, even contrary to the design.

        One interpretation (since all are open) would be that it is a lot of wood attached to a lot of wood, signifying nothing.

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  • Matt Schultz says:

    Thank you!

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