I Grew Up Here

One day a friend & I were standing outside The Artery when we approached by a 25 year old women in flowered & flowing gowns. She was radiant and owned an awesome smile.

“I grew up here,” she sputtered with a certain conviction to us and to everyone who could hear. I giggled, thinking, “I grew up here too.”

But there was power and authenticity to her claim. My friend, a wise historian and archivist who has forgotten this encounter, asked, “How is that so, many Burners claim to ‘grow up’ here?”

“Well,” she began to explain, “when I was three years old, my dad and a bunch of his friends began to come up here every summer from Los Angeles for a week or so, so this was where we took our summer vacation until I was about ten. We would camp someplace out here.”

She had our attention and continued, “One day, I guess I was around three or four years old, I felt that none of the adults were paying any attention to me. I thought I would go for a hike and discover those mountains over there. Dad and his friends were sitting in the shade of our vans so I began to walk to the mountains. After a few steps, I looked back and dad and all his friends were simply looking at ME! I realized in that instant, that out here in the Black Rock Desert, I could do and be whatever I wanted, if I was safe!”

Before we could say “WOW!” she went on. “About five years ago I was driving home to LA from Oregon and I decided to take the back roads and come via Black Rock Desert to see my old playground. I was heading south on Hwy 447 over there and came around this bend north of here & I looked out to ‘MY PLAYA’ and saw all these lights and flashes of explosion. I thought, ‘What the fuck is going on so I pulled in and bought a ticket and have been coming back every year since.

Before we could get back to the first “WOW!” she went on, breathlessly: “When I left, as soon as I could get in cell range, I called my dad and said, ‘You’ll never guess what’s going on out here in Black Rock Desert!'”

We giggled excitedly, cause we knew what was coming next and even as I write this I get some chills.

“Now my dad is out here and this is our fourth year at Burning Man together.”

by Hal “Phoenix” Muskat

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.

5 Comments on “I Grew Up Here

  • Katy Tahja says:

    As a elder I attended Burning Man last year with my grown daughter. We camped with different groups of friends but I was invited to dinner at her camp…Arriving I heard her friends saying softly “You brought your MOTHER to Burning Man?” “What for?” She had convinced me it was the greatest party on earth. I had a nice evening dining with her camp and being told by others “My mother would NEVER come here…” And yes, it is the greatest party on earth…but you all knew that. Katy the Book Fairy

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  • Yard Sale says:

    I’ve heard about Burning Man since somtime in the mid 90’s as young girl. We had a neighbor/friend that is on his 20th year at the burn. He always tried to talk my dad into going to Burning Man. My dad always said that I could only go if I went with him and I was at least 18. Well, 2003 my dad and I ventured out to the Playa, and we’ve been going together ever since. We’ve camped in different camps 4 times, but the playa always seems to bring us back together. My mom tried to go once and hated every minute of it. It’s been a special experience for me and my dad to enjoy and share together. I’m looking forward to spending my 10th burn with my dad this year.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

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  • Ali Baba says:

    Neat stories. Thanks for sharing, all!

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  • christy k says:

    it’s wonderful to hear such a story. considering how knowledge about Burning Man has spread over the last few years, i feel it’s a story that’s unlikely to ever happen again which makes it the more special.

    it’s also pretty to think that this girl may have conducted and created some of the ‘freedom’ energy at the burning man festival itself. The vastness of the desert and the power to feel at home exploring whatever might come compounded by a toddler’s imagination in the space there.. if she’s twenty five, it sounds like she started going to the playa right about when the festival started too. hehe. that’s amazing.

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  • Showers says:

    My little bean is almost 6 months old and I am not brave enough to take her with me this year but thanks to two very special little girls I once met at The Last Bar Standing. One 4 one 7 years old and cute as could be. Veteran baby burners! They were wise and full of excitement. They were having the same golden experience their parents and fellow burners were having and planned to return every year. It was when I decided two things. A. We should have a baby B. When she can walk and understand yes and no, she too will be a burner. I can’t wait to share something so special with my daughter. I know the experience will stick with her for the rest of her life. And OH the things she will learn out there!! Watching her soak it all up will be so grand. Thank you for sharing your story!

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