Burning Man (Part Two – Burning Man is an Ocean)
September 24, 2009
No, I haven’t died, and I do indeed fully intend to write more about this quite remarkable experience. I’m just horribly crap about posting in my blog, something I should be doing a lot more of.
Now, most importantly, I’m far overdue for a massive blogging-shout-out to Steven Boyett. I had met him only a few weeks before Burning Man at Worldcon in Montreal, but not, as one would expect, in his role as an author. Instead my first encounter with this fine fellow was with his decks and laptop out DJing as DJSteveBoy at the post-hugo awards dance. It was a really fantastic set (which btw, you can download from his site), and honestly just the thing I needed to get me into a good mood. I got to talk with him a bit after and discovered that he too, would be coming to Burning Man. So I found out when he would be playing on the playa and set myself the task of going to hear him spin again.
Now, there are many things that I still haven’t covered about The Burning Man Experience(tm) and one of them is this sense of serendipity (I overheard one burner on the plane home from Reno call it ‘playadipity’ but that’s just too fucking twee even for me.) The phrase I heard quite often was ‘The Playa Will Provide’. Well as it turns out, Steven was my strong proof of this concept.
Tuesday night, I set off from my camp to cross the center over to Opulent Temple (about a two-mile walk), not in any particular hurry as the sun had finally gone down and I was relishing the cool air after a baking-hot day. Distractions and I crossed paths many times (yes, some of the distractions were mobile, art cars roam the night-playa like neon fish in a dark ocean.) A bit past mid-way, just as I was thinking that a sit-down would be nice (I’d been walking all day as well) I found an art-installation which also happened to be a rather comfortable yurt, out in the cool desert. So I sat down, finding another burner already within, and spoke with her for a while. After a bit, two of her friends came into the yurt, one of whom was none other than our own Mr. Boyett, whose own narrative of the experience I think I will not attempt to further improve upon (he is a professional.) Save to say that I was also very delighted by the coincidence.
Now, another part of this serendipity is that it was a good lesson for me. As they were on their own way to the Temple (which is very different from Opulent Temple) and I had not yet visited it myself, I decided that I’d hang out with them a while longer. This was a Good Decision and as it turned out, many of my good experiences on the Playa came not from planning but from simply diving in and letting the currents float me where they would.
And so came one of my important Playa Lessons: Burning Man is an Ocean, and it’s Currents are strong, you can fight and exhaust yourself, or you can flow and be taken to wonderful places.