burning man – going home

it’s that time of year.  time for burning man. my burner friends from all over the world are packing their crazy costumes, faux fur, blinkies, neon everything, fire toys, fuel, bicycles, art cars, gifts, portable showers, power bars, water, hula hoops, everything needed to sustain life for 10 days, especially everything sparkly and glittery  – all of which, within moments of arriving on the playa, will be covered in tenacious, alkaline, moisture-sucking, skin-cracking, wonderful white playa dust.

it’s been 3 years since i last was able to go and i can guarantee that even here, 10 000 miles away on the other side of the world, i can go into my storage room and i’ll find you some playa dust. i’m so jealous of everyone heading to black rock city for a fresh supply. heading to  black rock city which, at this moment, is growing from an empty, dry salt pan, to one of the largest cities in nevada – at least for the next 10 days.

they’re going home. and those of us who’ve been and who aren’t able to go, feel an inexorable longing. i feel all the playa dust that i’ve inhaled, absorbed into my skin, packed up with my belongings, become magnetized to the true north which is black rock city and it is only my very pedestrian circumstances which keep me stuck here while my every cell is extended like an olympic rhythmic gymnast, legs outstretched, toes pointing, fingertips reaching toward, yearning for the nevada desert. 

i first got to burning man in 2003 (on a whim, with almost no planning, but scooped up in the circle of some fabulous hoopgirls (christabel of hoopgirl, anah (hoopalicious), the eve of hoop-dancing)- booking my ticket midnight thursday, leaving saturday). it was beyond belief.

like long-lost family, people met me with huge hugs and a “welcome home!”. i thought they were freakishly weird. what do you mean, “welcome home?”, i’ve never been here before!  hippy-dippy. and yet, by the time the week was up, after spending most of the time observing, getting thoroughly steeped in playa dust and burner community, clicking happily away with my camera, trying to capture it all, i realized that after a long circuitous route, mainly detours,  i was finally home. i felt like i’d been asleep for years, cocooned in a 10 year marriage, becoming invisible, forgetting who i really was. at burning man, after what felt like eternity, i seemed to bump into myself again. the real me. and it made it impossible to go back. within months my husband and i had separated and i was on a journey back to me. i had become a burner.

p.s. (my blog banner is an image i photoshopped of me on my bicycle on the playa in 2005)

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