I Grew up in Black Rock City

(Photo by Nathan Heller)

(Photo by Nathan Heller)

This story is about twelve years old.

One day a friend and I were standing outside The Artery when we approached by a 25 year old woman 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 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, and 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 Phoenix

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.

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