Burning Man 2018 was the first I’ve been lucky enough to attend. That statement would feel very incomplete if I didn’t add in the “lucky enough”. I feel like Burning Man is this elusive entity that either welcomes you in or shuts you out. Not the people in charge of it, but the event itself. If you’ve ever been to Burning Man, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you’ve always wanted to go to Burning Man but haven’t yet had the fortune, I think you also catch my drift. The first couple nights that we went out to explore the playa, I was transported back to my dreams. Months before we even knew we were going to BM, on a conscious level anyway, I had several dreams about being there. While on the playa, those dreams came crashing back into my mind and the vivid recall was astonishing. Dejavu at its finest. The only difference between my dream version of the neon dry beach and the one in this reality, was that in my dreams I was just as mind blown about what I was experiencing, but I wasn’t aware of where we were. In my dreams, I was convinced we were visiting another dimension. I must admit, I still think we were. The thing is, no matter how wild your imagination is, how many outlandish dreams you’ve had, actually standing amidst everything on the playa is inconceivable until you’re really doing it. Even then, you feel like you’re living in the definition of surreal. Imagine a world based on genuine generosity. A place where freedom lives up to its true meaning. Somewhere where every single person can be their weirdest, truest self and everyone embraces it. You want to experiment sexually? Great, take a visit to one of the orgy camps. You feel like letting our your inner pyro? Head over to fire alley and someone will help that dream come true. Imagine a world literally driven by art. No, literally, art is on wheels driving all around you, better get some lights on your bike! Everything you see, whether it be human, bicycle, vehicle, sculpture, music, poetry, buildings, performances, is PURE ART. Even the port-a-potties are plastered with profound wisdom.
Have you heard of the temple? The last night of the event, the temple burns. This is the night after the burning of the man, which is explosively epic. The temple however, is even more sacred in my opinion. The second we walked into the temple, tears overcame me. The biggest rush of external emotion I’ve ever experienced blanketed my entire being. I say external because I wasn’t even really aware of what I was about to experience, but before I could take a good look around, I was consumed with love, anger, frustration, passion, disdain, shame, and grief. People’s pictures were stapled throughout the sunlit building, notes written directly on the structure or taped where there was room. Each dedicated to people who’ve been loved and lost. As my partner wrapped me in his arms, I sobbed. I couldn’t help it if I tried. And soon enough, his big arms held me closer as I felt the his heartbeat match mine, and his tears gently patter on top of my scalp. We traveled through, stopping to read notes from others’ hearts, and then taking breaks to cry again. We found a pen in our bag and wrote notes from our own hearts, only we had to be brief because so many other hearts had already poured out. We didn’t read what each other said. We didn’t have to.
That night, the temple burned, and we didn’t make it in time. Instead, we sat with our fellow campers on top of an RV and shared some good champagne.
Burning Man was the experience of a lifetime, and if we’re lucky enough, we’ll be back for many years to come!