Monday, 16 September 2013

Arriving

Evening by foundimagination
(I'd made a conscious decision before I went to not get stuck behind my camera, to try to experience Burning Man without having to capture it in images, so I don't have a lot of pictures from the first few days, and the night pictures I do have don't really do justice to the charisma of the place. It's... delightful. And bright.  But this shot it from Monday evening as we were in line on our way in.) 

 Once we'd made it through the Greeters station, we drove (no faster than 5mph so you don't kick up so much dust) around trying to find the camp we'd been told we could camp near.  And to be perfectly honest, it all seemed stupid to me.

It was so much less impressive than I'd thought.  It was dark.  I was unimpressed.  Where were the massive structures?  The lights?  This was a dark, desolate, sad collection of tents and tarps and this was not at all what I'd thought it would be.

I know now that we were in "the boonies", the far outskirts away from the structures and the art and away from the theme camps, but I didn't know that at the time and I was feeling rather miserable.  It felt like I'd come a very long way for a whole lot of disappointment.  And that people were a lot more impressed by this whole thing than they should be.  I didn't know why I'd bothered coming.

We couldn't find that camp so we drove to the second camp we'd been told we could camp near and we couldn't find that either.  How one was supposed to find anything in the dark was beyond me, and I began to get worried about gas.  We were at half a tank, and still had to get out and to the closest (not so close) city on our way out on that half tank.  We'd tried to find the two camps, but no one was there for us to talk to or ask and it was so dark and seemed unorganized so I voiced my gas tank concerns and we drove until we found a spot we could back into and we slept.

Except, no, we didn't sleep.

One of our party took off into the night to try to find some of the people we'd meant to camp near, and the driver, my co-back of the RV sitter and I went for a walk.

We walked out into the city, and down to the main art piece, "The Man."  And from there we walked out to "The Temple", a beautiful structure that my new friend Natalie (back of the RV buddy) told me had been built with no nails or screws.  It had all been slotted in.  And it was gorgeous.

The idea of the temple, as I understand it, is to allow Burners to say goodbye to loved ones they've lost.  Or perhaps to say goodbye to something in their life that isn't serving them well, but it's a place of spirituality and reflection, and I thought it was far too lovely to burn.

And, on our walk back, I saw the flaming Octopus!  I'd seen it in previous Burning Man videos and my thought had been "well, I guess that was there that year and I'll never get to see it" and you guys?  There it was.  I don't think I can explain just what that meant to me.  This was Burning Man.  This was why I was there.

I was still wearing my runners from the trip and there was what felt like rocks in my shoes.  Piles and piles of dust mixed with my own sweat.  And I could feel the dust in my throat.

Not just because I drank some.

I'd already started to notice the heat that evening in line and so I'd dipped my face cover (bandana-buff type thing) in my water bottle, not realizing how much dust had already gathered in the fabric.  So when I next went to take a drink, it was silt water.

But I drank it anyway.

So, the three of us walked out, saw the Man, saw the Temple, and came back to the RV.

Our fourth came back, having found her friends, but not a spot for us to move to, so we set up to sleep for the night.  Or, for the next few hours anyway, seeing as it was probably close to three in the morning.  Our longest day so far.

2 Comments:

Blogger Happydog said...

I was kind of waiting until you "arrived" in your entries to send you these...
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/trey-ratcliff-burning-man

http://pamelab.tumblr.com/post/59845486081/inothernews-in-the-round-an-aerial-view-of-the


Monday, September 16, 2013 2:16:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Amazing!

And yes, I was totally waving!!! :D

Monday, September 16, 2013 4:14:00 pm  

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