So let’s just get this out of the way and come out and say it right up front: We can’t wait for you to get here.
After all the weeks and weeks of toil and trouble (and thunder and lighting and pounders and Bruno’s and 12-Mile and trash fence), we are ready.
Well, pretty much.
There’s a morning meeting every day at the Depot, which is something of a central command center for the crews working here, the whole lot of them – Power, Water, Roads, Spires, Shade, Recycle, Special Projects, Heavy Equipment, Transpo, Dispatch, Commissary, Signs, Gate, Emergency Services, Human Resources (!!), Fuel … everything. And every morning there’s a meeting before the meeting, where the honchos get together on the side and trade notes and go over what needs to happen at the morning meeting. No doubt the most important stuff takes place at the meeting before the meeting.
And today was the last morning meeting (until after the event), and it was also the last of the meetings before the meeting. And Coyote said they were all over there, looking down the 5:30 road into the center of Black Rock City, looking at what they had accomplished over the past three weeks – the roads, the lights, the tents, the flags, the signs, and hey, how about that, the ART – and they looked out at it all on the day before the gates open and the participants coming streaming in and the group reached a consensus:
Yes, there’s still lots of work going on. The indefatigable Man Base crew is still hammering away, the Temple is still frantic with activity, and there are still more signs to put up around the city to guide you on your way. (Already 20 of the handcrafted signs have been vandalized, damaged or just plain stolen, and it’s very tough to replace them at this point, so when you get here please please please leave them alone).
But for the most part, it’s all done. It’s ready. WE’RE ready. We’re ready for you to get here and get this thing going.
Because no matter how romantic or heroic or attractive it might look to be around for the setup, it’s really not about the work. It’s about getting ready for the magic to happen.
“We get to bathe in it for weeks and weeks,” Logan said. “But we’re building the canvas, (and you) get to paint.”
Because this was the morning meeting, and because this was very close to being a genuine sentiment stated out loud, of course it was pounced on.
“We set the table, and they come to dinner,” someone said.
“We make the bed, now come lay down,” someone else said.
The analogies went on for a while and got more and more ridiculous, but the point was made. This thing doesn’t really happen until you get here. So hurry up and get here, because we’re tired of all this building, we’re tired of the place looking like the world’s biggest yard sale. It’s time for Burning Man.
(Also: take your time and be careful: Don’t speed through the little towns on 447. Don’t go more than 5 mph in the city. Keep your shit trim, and stay cool. Seriously.)
Yesterday the last spire was driven into the playa floor. It was decorated with as much jank as possible, and it will stand all crooked and funky right there along the Esplanade, inside an eight-sided wooden enclosure, the same oculus that is set up on the night of the Golden Spike, when the very first metal is pounded into the ground with much pomp and ceremony.
There wasn’t much pomp and ceremony yesterday, but it was an occasion, nonetheless. Crews circled their wagons around the spot, and all manner of flotsam and jetsam was nailed and wired to that last spire. Shade was put up over it, wires were attached to it, and many things were slammed around it. The gathering is supposed to mark the end of the work, and sometimes it happens on the last Thursday of the build, sometimes even on the last Wednesday, but this year it was on Friday. There has been lots to overcome in these past few weeks, and every moment was needed to pull the city together.
Miss Marley blasted one of her 100-pound anvils into the air to mark the start of the festivities, and in minutes the beat-up old spire, a real funky piece of junkyard, was done. Many libations were enjoyed, and afterwards there was a sledgehammer-tossing contest.
Then people wandered off to see what else had to be done, make plans to meet during the event, and maybe pick up some shifts to get access to the commissary.
So we’re ready for you. Pretty much.
“Sometimes I think about someone coming to Burning Man for the first time,” Logan said. “And I picture this person who spends the other 51 weeks of the year in his cubicle, and he gets here and sees all this magic for the first time and it cracks his skull open. … And that crack allows some light to come into his life.”
Ok, we’re definitely ready for you.
Now it’s your turn.