I spent yesterday, and now, as I write this weak description of the indescribable, processing my BurningMan experience.
Weeks leading up to #BurningMan2015 I spent plenty of time researching the web, reading forums, looking at pictures, visiting the official BurningMan site and so on and on.
It turns out that nothing you hear, read or see will prepare you for the actual experience. It’s more spectacular on every level than I could imagine.
A sea of eye popping visuals, art, extremely-expressive-beautiful-humans, wildly decorated bikes, swirling white dust, expressive art-art, massively impressive, big as buses art-cars trimmed in brilliant bright neon lights, blaring non-stop-music and throwing flames, heat, dust, fatigue, streaming surprises and unexpected more.
Sonically it’s a relentless sound bath, every second of every hours, 24 hours a day, seven days straight. Sleep was elusive. I found it almost impossible to sleep, In be my toes tapped unaided and base beats bounced around like super-balls in my head.
Radical free-expression is the rule and truth. It’s the soul of everything, how people dress, or not, what they ride, the camps they live in, what’s gifted, received, shared and talked about.
I didn’t pick up my phone for four days. No texts, no calls, no email, no Facebook, zero cyber connection, just real world immersion. Well, I don’t know if you can call BurningMan real world, but it was my real world for a few days. I didn’t the miss the cyber connection at all. It also means that I didn’t carry my phone anywhere, which means I didn’t snap a single picture. I’m including a couple of links below to pictures that others took. While looking at pictures before I went I thought, “These pictures must be the highlights?”. Nope, in reality the pictures you’ll see are “reality”, not highlights. A chaos of color and oh-wow was happening everywhere, all the time. Every second was a highlight.
One of the many remarkable things I observed and experienced is the sincere friendliness and complete lack of competition, aggression or judging. No handshakes or hesitation, big sincere hugs, bigger smiles and conversation about the Burn. “Is this your first?” How is your Burn going?” What have you seen that’s blown your mind?, Is it like you thought? How would you describe it? What Art should I go see? How would you describe Burning Man to your friends at home?” These are were the common conversations, not “What business are you in? What do you do for a living?” and the usual at home conversation. Beautiful.
Overall the experience was complex and dense on multiple levels; visually, sonically, environmentally (hot, white out dust storms, serene sunrises, crystal clear nights with temps dropping into the 30’s), emotionally and socially. Supremely impactful.
For me, sleep was hard to come by. One night we were out on the Playa till 4 in the morning dancing, swaying and bouncing like fools with hundreds of others (old, young and in between alike) at the Mayan Warrior Art Car. Later, shuffling our feet in dusty heat at Camp White Ocean and Disco Nights and electric biking-whizzing our way across the mile+ wide Playa wide eyed gawking at the Art and people.
The levels of dedication, commitment and passion required for 70,000 people to prepare, trek to, set up, participate, share, create, experience, tear down and leave without a trace is powerfully inspiring. You really have to see it to believe it and understand it. Even having lived it, I’n not sure I completely understand it. I’ll have to go back.
My daughter Lauren, was a powerful positive force in creating the Cirque Gigante camp in which I stayed as a guest. Spending time with her, having her guide, introduce, educate and squire me through the experience brings tears to my eyes and a wrap around smile to my face. Lauren is a beautiful force of nature and a blessing to so many.
I met amazing people, saw unimaginable things and experienced an indescribable four days. Nothing can prepare you for your first BurningMan and afterward it’s impossible to describe the impact it will have on your physical, social, mental and emotional self. In my 58 years I’ve had the great good fortunate to experience some amazing adventures. I put my dive into BurningMan in the profound on many levels category. It’s impact will alter my life.
Thank you Lauren Brand. I love you.
Here’s a few links to some pictures of the celebration:
Yes it’s true! These aren’t highlights, this is everyday living at #BurningMan: https://instagram.com/explore/tags/burningman2015/