As I write this, 60,000 people are gathered in the Black Rock desert (about 150 miles north of here) for the 28th Burning Man festival. Begun on a small beach in San Francisco, it has been in Nevada for most of its life, on a huge flat playa that was once the bottom of a lake.
If you were able to talk to all 60,000 attendees, each would have a different take on what Burning Man is and what they experienced. My favorite comment was made by my friend Christy, who has traveled extensively in Asia. When we were there in 2007 she said it was the closest thing to India she’d ever experienced anywhere else; previously the nearest approximate was Las Vegas!
Why? Color, people, exuberance, unpredictability, profane next to sacred, music, noise, dirt, smells, tastes, the sublime, the ridiculous, funny, moving, ritual, sex, spontaneity, energizing, exhausting, playful, creative….altogether a feast for the senses.
By next week all the vehicles we’ve been seeing loaded down with bicycles will be on their way home, filthy dirty with the tan-colored dust blown onto everything, occupied by people who’ve had the time of their lives. May all the Burners have a wonderful week; may all go well.
Photo: Temple of Forgiveness, Burning Man 2007