This experience is far too difficult to describe accurately so I will merely make some observations.
Being there, I found that, oddly enough, one of the most exciting experiences was merely the “knowing” of the things you don’t know. Not just discovering something new or seeing something for the first time, but the experience of finally having your own “a-ha” moment about Burning Man…and the time there is more of that experience than anything else. It’s everywhere.
I had the experience of feeling like I was in a cross between a great dream and the heaven (or afterlife) I’d always imagined (the way it would feel, not what it was supposed to look like or be about, but the joy, freedom and limitlessness of it all). You become part of a self-sufficient, sharing, open, non-judgmental, loving entity that is there to express itself and celebrate its own being.
Go with me for a bit…
Imagine being able to walk consciously into your dream state.
Imagine, too, that you are aware that you are about to do so; you can actually start to see it on the horizon, and then moment by moment feel it engulf you.
You feel yourself walking to a place where time and space are blurred together because there is so much space, and the conventional uses for time are rendered virtually obsolete (although time is nice for making appointments and gauging how long you’ve done something, neither one of those qualities is really valuable here). So, in the dark of a desert night, you find yourself excitedly wandering the playa heading from gleaming light to gleaming light, being passed by figures in all manner and array of dress, some lit up, some in complete shadow…all existing in an atmosphere of discovery, appreciation, adventure, freedom, sharing and love.
Even fear is obsolete, because as in your dreams, even when you are frightened you have this sense that it is your dream and you can, with the “flip of a (mental) switch” change the dynamic of your dream. It is like this at Burning Man. From joy to sorrow and back again in moments, all as you choose it.
Also, for me, the idea of “creation from nothing” has never been more powerfully present, felt and experienced than while I was there at Burning Man.
Each day there was a great day getting better.
Two examples of this amazing dream state and the randomness, perfection and absurdity of creation from nothing happening constantly are expressed in these two quick stories:
So, imagine sitting outside of a temple built in the desert. The temple is about 50-60 feet high and is a framework that allows you to walk inside. The workmanship and the detail on the temple is awe-inspiring and the memorials on the wall evoke emotion that creeps up on you and overtakes you ferociously as you become aware of the ability to express these emotions however you choose, with no worry about disturbing what is. After leaving this you walk across the playa, looking out over a vast flatland with art strewn about it for miles in every direction, and suddenly a wind storm approaches, as they often do out there in the desert on the playa. You pull your goggles down over your eyes and sit waiting for it to pass. Two minutes go by and the wind still stirs the dust so that all you see is the whiteness in which you are enveloped. You put your head down again for a moment as you feel the wind starting to subside, and as you look up, your ability to see increases such that you can actually see the dust instead of being in it. And as you view this wall of white, it parts, and from it emerges a PIRATE SHIP. Rolling through the desert, complete with a mast, and crows nest and people on it serving as crew, and maybe even serving cocktails… It rolls by into and out of view, as you continue on into the unknown, giggling uncontrollably as you hear yourself muttering, “What the fuck was that???”
It’s nighttime and the darkness is alive with light, wonder, music and magic. You walk on flat ground that you cannot see and you walk toward things that you cannot calculate the distance of or the time it will take to get there. Since the heavens and the earth blend so seamlessly, one cannot tell where the stars end and the earth begins …no matter, what you see is no mirage, it’s there, and if you move toward it, eventually you will arrive at it. So knowing this, you wander out into the night passing fluorescent blue and green gardens and day-glo fences all while 60-foot long choo-choo trains (complete with whistle) and dragons (complete with fire) roll by you and even an entourage of inhabitants from the Mad Max camp pass you as they shoot their (blank-filled) guns into the night celebrating, endlessly, their ability to be and be appreciated for being. And as you continue to walk you get lulled into a few moments of peace as you stare at the darkness underneath you that you assume is the ground. You look up and make out in the darkness, the figure of a man on a bicycle built for two. The reason you can see that is because the passenger on the back of the bicycle is peddling wildly as is the guy on the front, except the guy on the back is completely on fire.
You watch in astonishment, too awed to ask the questions of logic one asks in the “real” world when confronted by such a sight. You watch, mouth agape, and watch them roll on into the night, and a six-foot chicken walks up to you and says, “Now ain’t that some crazy shit?
These were only two of my thousands of experiences.
I must add, that as much as I love my peeps, (and I do), I spent not one moment thinking of or missing any of them. I didn’t even have my requisite, “Oh my God so-and-so would just love this…” I couldn’t do that because to do that would mean that I would risk not being present to a moment spent there…I was not willing to choose that. Not even for one moment. Interesting, too, is the fact that most of my time was spent alone, away from the friends I knew and had come with, and the same was true for them. And I actually loved having the experience of being the “newbie,” yet I cannot wait to pass on what those before gave me.
Wow. I never knew…
I imagined…but I never really knew.
There is so much to say and reminisce about, but I will not do that anymore here, I will simply encourage you to allow people to share it with you. Allow it to inspire you to say yes to it, so that when it shows up next year…you too will know what I now know and I now cherish.
The joy, power and inspiration of The Burn.
I love you all, and am so glad to be able to share this with you.
Freedomcommunity, Los Angeles
by Kye Brackett