Next year we’re going to have to start calling it by a different name because at this point, everyone whom was not there is sick of hearing about it and everyone whom was there can’t stop talking about it.. It was epic. It was introspective. It was dusty. It was definitely expensive. It was… a way of life.
When you’re dealing with a wild animal, it’s usually best not to look it directly in the eyes… Some storms you just have to wait out. Some parties too epic for pictures.
Yes, I made the pilgrimage this year. And, yes, it was worth every ridiculous trade-off.
Short parable: Going into Burning Man I decided to braid my hair, you know, like every other long haired chica on the playa; to keep it from knotting up, naturally. After two weeks of looking ‘fly’, not showering, and spending ten days in the dust, I’ve never combed out such a mess of knots. Ironically, I felt the burn and, just like my hair, I felt that the knots tied in the fabric of our unique burn culture needed a conditioning treatment of their own.
I debated posting this blog because I am somewhat ashamed of some of the things I have witnessed online and on the playa. If you’ve been keeping up with the burn word on the street, then you are aware there was plenty of drama to go around this year. I’ve watch what I’ve grown to call ‘my community’ appear to fall apart over some very specific issues. This has created a sense of self-doubt in my own choices, let alone in my faith in this community.
I spent much of this year at various burns weighing the two sides… Is the stress worth the comb-out? Does the carbon foot print outweigh the time, money and energy spent? Are the principles worth the autonomy we give up? Does radical inclusion justify the split in our community? Lastly, is deciding to shop at Wal-Mart over-ridden by the notion that we get to party seamlessly for a week in the middle of no where kicking dust?
The biggest question is are you proud to be a part of this scene?
I say, sheepishly, it was worth it. Every dollar, scrape, burn and bruise, missed deadline and job quit because of Burning Man was worth the epic nature of this event and I can’t get it out of my head! That moment when I looked around at the vast expanse and see nothing but art and smiles for miles, I KNEW in my heart it was worth it. No one can shut up about it, and the question at hand becomes “what’s next?”
We’ve certainly outgrown our roots at this point, and now the Burning Man Organization is expanding! How “fly” of them; it’s about time! I feel like I’ve been ready for this since before I knew what even was a burn. Now that the org has purchased a permanent location, Fly Ranch, what should be done with it?
I wonder just how many of us would quit our jobs at the drop of a top hat, depart the default world to arrive in Gerlach ready to colonize #forreal. To Settle. Prepared to work. Ready to practice what we preach. Ready to surrender. Ready to stand up for what we believe in. Ready to chop the dead ends and grow fresh roots. The land is there. The ten principles are in place. Are we ready to uphold them? Isn’t this what we all want – to live the burner life fully and permanently? Or perhaps it is just the ideal with which we are in love? Alas, the conundrum that comes with all serious relationships, “are we ready to commit?”
So far the org has not said much in terms of what Fly Ranch is supposed to be, and the word on the street is that they are open to the community’s vision (you can insert your own thoughts here).
I want to think that this community is one I can be proud to represent, and realistically, be okay loosing my hair over on a regular basis.
Should we quit our jobs yet?
Maybe volunteer with Burners without Burners? Burners without Borders is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems. (Which, I will add, I am headed to volunteer for a week in New Orleans next month).
What I desire most, is that I could head back to Black Rock City, TODAY, with all of the other die-hard sick-of-this-default-shit burner radicals and get settled on Fly Ranch as my heart imagines our community could be living. If we gave it a real effort to colonize and revolutionize the way we envision our lives, image what we could do for ourselves, and as a model for the world? I am unsure if it is time for that, yet, but I do know that I am ready. Are you? Should we? This is a group decision, not just for one or two people.
If it’s too soon for you personally that’s okay. The task at hand is clearly upon us; to spread what I believe is a common love and respect all around the world, including within our own community, but specifically outside of our inner circle, and to be proud of this energy.
We are a hefty network. Think of the global mouthpiece we could amplify should we chose to deliver an intentional message. What message is worth delivering, and how shall we say it? Perhaps we speak softly, with grace, radical inclusion and exquisite creativity; definitely not with exclusivity. Let us find the voice of the radical burner spirit that drew us all together in the first place.
I challenge us to a radical international game that Americans know by the name of telephone. Allow me to whisper something into your ear, and you into the ear of your neighbors, and so forth.
May we whisper words of creative kindness into our consciousness, let it permeate our lives and the lives of our community and remind us of our roots. May every action be an opportunity to spread some burner light with others. Let every grocery store encounter set the stage for intent and radical expressive interaction. Everyday put something moopy back in its place. :et civic responsibility realign the burner attitude we once sought with pride and inclusion.
Please continue to spread the magical dust on every level and know that our utopia is not as far away as we think, if we want it to be. The questions are, what role do you play, and how do we fully practice the art of burning? #loveyourburn #spreadit #missconcepttour
Burning Man 2016