Well, it's our last day : ( I just had a mini-cry with my friend Kama who came to say good-bye. She was crying, so naturally I started crying. She said, "Jacqui, I want you to know that you are one of my most favorite people in all the world." I think she's pretty darned wonderful too. Oh man, how do you hear that and not cry? How do I type this and listen to the sounds of our beautiful city breaking down and keep pretending that it isn't happening? I don't want to pack up, that's why I'm sitting here cleaning up my posts and hoping I'll be able to send them out to you. I get anxious before packing for any kind of trip anyway, let alone trying to pack this much dust covered stuff back into our filthy, overcrowded RV.
Oh lovely, a desert breeze just blew the scent of the nearby porta-potties into our camp. Now that's one thing I won't miss, and I am dying for a shower. If we can coordinate it, we might tag along with some friends to a nearby hot springs where hopefully we'll be able to take our first showers in more than a week. Think what you may, it's all worth it, and you either get it and have been planning in your heart to come on out here and join us, or you're going to have someone drag you out here before you'll understand what it is about this place that brings us back every year no matter what.
I'll give you a real example of Burning Man fortitude; One of our neighbors, a gorgeous blonde woman with one of the prettiest, smiliest babies around, (the little toddler in the pink tutu who just happened to be carrying an empty beer bottle with her when I met her,) a very cool and super sexy pagan witch goddess gal, (can you put all of those things together in one description?) told me the most horrible story about how her husband lost his arm. I hope she'll correct me if she reads this and I get it wrong but as I remember it, they had come in 2001 and were going to get married -- have a real ceremony out here, the works. On their wedding day he left with the kids to go into Reno to pick up friends, and while she was out here in a tent getting dressed, he was hit head on by a semi-truck. The kids were all okay but he lost his arm and she had to wait all alone in her tent for eighteen hours before someone was able to get word to her. Can you imagine that? And here they are again, coming back every year to face it. I asked because he was having an emotional time at the burn and she was telling me about phantom limb pain. I told them about our Live Journal friend whose husband was just in the bad mountain bike accident. I haven't been able to check in on her to see how they're coping. I've been thinking of them. I sent prayers their way at the beautiful temple burn last night.
Okay that's it, I'm not putting up with this any more. Despite what has been a nice, crisp, cool breeze I am definitely closing the door, the stink, oh Lordy the stink is unbearable. The weather here is so instantly changeable, like everything else out here, it's like nothing I've ever experienced anywhere else before. I can't get on long enough to send anything out but I am sometimes able to get on for a minute or two and last night I went to the Burning Man site and went to the page where people write about their experience of this year's burn. The one and only post would have to be someone complaining about the weather -- the dust had wrecked their precious camp for a day or so. I wanted to say, "Oh shut up and get over it," but maybe that's because I'm tired and mad that anyone would come here with any other kind of expectations. The weather, your camp, your food, your body, everything may go to shit, literally, and at the same time, you may have the deepest spiritual experience of your life, if you're open to it. How can someone come late, leave early, and be the first people to blog in about the burn and have it be a complaint? Oh well, I surrender, everyone gets to have his or her own experience of this, I just needed to bitch about it a little bit.
Some kind fellow burners brought out these three gorgeous silver kites last night that hovered high above us for hours. With their shining silver skin and their long feathery tails they looked like some kind of floating night sea creatures. They really added to the whole mystic effect of the temple burn. Thank you to the artists who created them.
You should have been there last night, all of you, we missed you. There is nothing else like it on earth, I love the night when we burn the man, but when the temple burns it's transformative, like really great sex where you go someplace totally other and then come back and realize you went to some other place for a moment or two. If you don't know what I'm talking about, if you haven't been lucky enough to go there with your partner as I have, (love you honey), go get yourself a Hitachi Magic Wand and make your way there. It, (the temple burn and really this whole experience), truly approaches a form of religion for me. It's a pilgrimage for certain there really isn't any doubt about this for me, this is my form of walking up church steps on my knees in Rome, or walking the Camino in Spain, or any other form of pilgrimage. I must remember to visit the rat temple in India someday, it's definitely on my list. Oh man wouldn't it be great if I could adopt a couple of those rats?
I filled several plastic vials of glittering black coal dust from the man yesterday to bring back and send to anyone who wants some, and a friend on Dave's terrific poetry fridge magnet car said, "Nahh, no thanks, my kid can do that, but that is really too cultish for me." I don't hold this against him, in fact he was one of my absolute most favorite guys here and was the heart and soul of our nightly pot lucks and that's no small thing, but if this is a cult, then count me in and send me the sash and symbols. I'll shave my head and pass out literature, I'm calling this home.
Whoops, it looks like I wrote this same thing twice, hmm...oh well.
Dave only had so much room on his car last night so he had to make two trips out and two trips back. He took the little kids first and there wasn't room for me so I had to walk back. It's a long walk. The temple is just as far away from the man as the man is from us and on this last night we've lost so many of our landmarks and so many of the signs have been yanked out by souvenir hunters that it can seem a little daunting trying to find your way home in the dark. I couldn't even make out center camp so I walked in the same direction that a few other people seemed to be walking and after about a half hour of trudging through soft dust I could just make out the high flying colorful flags of our center camp and then I began to get my bearings. At first I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself but as I kept walking I got into the rhythm of it and as tired as I was I began to enjoy it the way I've enjoyed walking all of the many labyrinths that people set up out here.
We even have one in Kidsville this year. Another wonderful family built a lit up, scaled down, child sized version of the traditional labyrinth here in our camp, and although the paths were so narrow I had to hold my arms out the way you do when you walk on anything narrow like a balance beam or a sidewalk curb.
Phil just walked in and said, "Hey there, I've got a ton of pictures for year. People are still burning shit out there." We're sharing our pictures. He is sooo cool!!!
Okay, well, I don't want to be part of the enormous exodus of cars this year -- you can see the line and I've heard that it is taking people four to six hours to go just from here to the highway, a distance of maybe five miles or so, so why hassle it. We have to clean our camp, sift the sand for MOOP, (Matter out of place,) pack all our dust covered crap and garbage back into the RV, return Julian's bike, see if there is any chance someone might have returned mine anywhere, help clean up the larger area of Kidsville and Burning Man in general. This will keep us busy for hours.
Our neighbors and the kids are hungry so I'm going to cook up some mac and cheese and make a salad for six -- should be fun.
Love you, see you soon with pictures,