It was my Mom’s choice to have her ashes go into the Burning Man fire. She asked me every year why I never went after watching it on the news. I never knew why, I just didn’t. No shower? The heat? She was convinced I was missing out on something incredible.
She had terrible asthma, and the dust would have been too much. A Bohemian in her younger years, she put all that aside to raise me in a more conventional setting. Now and then, her quirky side would peek out, but it wasn’t until the past few years that she started being “her” again. She was an gifted artist and a damn good art teacher.
So I did it. I went to Burning Man and put her and her pup Sidney’s ashes directly under The Man’s right foot. The Black Rock City Rangers saw me, and let me keep it there, which doesn’t usually happen. The Rangers are deeply compassionate people that quickly made understand what my Mom intuitively knew about the spirit of Burning Man. Apparently, The Temple of Whollyness is where those things usually go. I went in there, and the energy was painful and sad, which was not what she wanted.
Besides, the celebration preceding the “burn” happen at the Temple. No fireworks. No diamond sky.
One of her favorite lines from Bob Dylan’s, “Mr. Tamborine Man,” was “Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free.”
Now you are, you truly are.
by Monica Angrand