One last night of Burning Man 2018, the night of the Temple burn. All the mementos, inscriptions, pictures and ashes of the people who are no longer with us were carried aloft and sent drifting into the starry night.
The transformative nature of fire never seems more powerful than on the night the Temple burns, the holiest day of the week. It’s our secular, nondenominational day to mourn and memorialize.
The silence is overpowering, the mood somber and reflective. Even the blinkiest of participants, still lit for gaiety, seem to understand that silence is appropriate for the occasion. The big art cars encircle the perimeter, but their sound systems are muted. The effect is sobering. Time has come to an end for those being remembered, and time seems to stand still for those of us still here.
The sounds of Burning Man can often be unique; the din of throbbing and booming that dominate during the week, and the plaintive howls that rise up from a thousand throats when the Temple is fully engulfed.
We put the over-under on the first person to yell “Thanks Larry!” at 90 seconds, and we weren’t far off the mark. There were other names shouted in the darkness as well, and, like too many moments during this burn, the sadness was palpable. We lost so many wonderful people this year.
Anyone could guess that the swirling open-peaked structure would burn hot and fast, and it did. Flames spread quickly, sending smoke and intentions upward and outward. When the blaze died down, we wandered off into the night, searching for a fitting way to mark the end of the event, and dreaming of ways to keep it meaningful and important the next time.
We’ve been especially grateful all week for the participants who give so much of themselves, their time, talent and resources, to make Burning Man what it is. It’s many different things to many different people, but it’s undeniable that community is at the heart of it all. We lost friends this year, but we met new ones, too, people we wouldn’t have any other way of coming in contact with.
So we’ll say it again, not for the first time, and not for the last:
Here are a few more pics: