The Playa Provides

Writing on the walls of the Temple send final messages to those that are remembered.

Writing on the walls of the Temple send final messages to those that are remembered.

As I sat on the bench at the Temple, staring at the ground, contemplating what to write for my mom’s epitaph, someone entered my field of vision. I looked up, she said hi, I replied hello. Then in an instant she fanned a deck of note cards in front of me. She asked me to pick a card. Without hesitation I picked one from the left side of the deck. I said thank you and she replied you are welcome and walked away.

Overwhelmed by sadness, tired, unable to concentrate, I’m at the point of saying fuck it, I’ll write something tomorrow. So, you can imagine how surprised I was when I read what was on the card. It was an excerpt from “Outbreak of Peace” by Isacc Shapiro. It read: “Once there is duality, there is some sense of needing something, or wanting something, or being vulnerable, or being scared.” I read it over again. Then again. All of a sudden, I felt at peace. I no longer had that hollow feeling in my chest, that lump in my throat, or felt the tears on my face. I immediately grabbed a marker from a nearby bench and wrote the quote above my mom’s memorial. To this day, when I feel sad about her death, I think about that experience & make it a point to remember that everything is one & it’s all going to be alright.


by Alberto Martinez

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.

2 Comments on “The Playa Provides

  • Mattea says:

    thankyou for sharing your experience, i found it encouraging and inspiring to read.
    all the best from germany

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  • Antonina says:

    When I am asked why I go to burning man by my more “conservative” circle of co workers, friends and acquaintances, THIS is why. And you just can’t get the point across in a way that is understood by anyone who has not been there. There is always a significant experience or awakening that happens while I am there. On our first burn, my daughter of 35 years, and I were walking together during the lantern lighting ceremony towards the Man when her father and my husbands favorite song, The Moonbeam Song by Harry Nilsson, magically played somewhere not far from us and as if he was right there with us. But we new he wasn’t as he passed when she was only 4. We just looked at each other and knew it was him.

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