September 7th, 2005


Burning Man Mourns the Big Easy

We're in Reno. I have a lot of journal writing and pictures to share with you but I am exhausted and overwhelmed by the news and the loss of one of my cats. We live as if we are on another planet when we are out there; without cell phone access, televisions, Internet access (but that's changing) or news of the outside world. I knew it was going to be bad. I met lots of people from New Orleans who felt like they had probably lost everything at home, and still they wouldn't leave. We had a service on Sunday before the temple burn, Joan Baez sung Amazing Grace, but the general population, and even those who were tuned into this had no idea how bad it was. I'm still trying to learn what I can. It's a lot to take in all at once -- everything you've learned about Katrina and New Orleans over a nine day period, is hitting us all at once.

Here is an article about Burning Man and our response to the devastation in Louisiana : (

Decompressing In the "Default" World, Our Kitty Spot Died, News From a Friend Re. NOLA

We are just waking up here in a hotel in Reno. We are covered in cuts, scrapes and bruises. I will edit and share my remaining entries and photos from Burning Man when we get home, later in the week.

Today we'll take the RV to a local self wash here and see if we can get some of the kids' finger-painting off of it. It's covered with paint and dust and the windshield has a small crack. I don't know how this happened, but I imagine we will forfeit our five hundred dollar security deposit -- the one we didn't have to pay, but that they will most certainly take from us now. I will make this RV look as spiffy and clean as possible but you can only do so much for a truck that has been blasted by high, dust-filled winds for ten days in the desert.

Beau is dying to get home. He needs to have some time to himself in which to get prepared for school. It is hard to believe that my little boy is now a six-foot-tall young man -- covered with hair and pimples -- about to enter high school.

I don't understand the passage of time. I hate time. It has always been an enemy; something strange I have never been able to embrace and comprehend. I always seem to be on the backside of beautiful things I don't want to let go of that sped by, or in the midst of stressful slow moving things that hurt. I am sick of my weird relationship with the passage of time. I intend to get a hold of this issue of mine and thrash it out until I can make peace with it in some way.

We have promised our friends Mara and Phil that we will spend some time with them again at their house in Grass Valley but Beau doesn't want to go. I don't want to disappoint Phil and hurt his feelings because he has been looking forward to our visit for months. When we were only able to spend a day or so with him before Burning Man, I promised we would spend almost a week there with him afterwards, so spending a day with him, especially since we will be passing right by his town on our way home, seems like the least we can do. I would love to visit some of my Live Journal friends who live in Sacramento and Fresno, but there is no way I will be able to do this and get Beau back in time to leave him with at least a day before school starts.

I have decided that I desperately need to go to the "secret" hot springs that are about thirty miles north of Reno in a gorgeous meadow filled community of like-minded people and we'll do that today on our way to Phil's. Hopefully there will be some fellow Burners there we can try to spend a bit of time communing with. I've never understood the concept of the need for decompression as clearly as I do now. It's hard coming back to all of this.

I spent last night getting clean and catching up on the news from and about New Orleans; worrying about our friends, and getting news from home. I hate being back in "the default world" as many people at Burning Man call it. Already I am tense, anxious, suspicious, and grieving.

I had an argument/upset with Scott over the phone last night because I was exhausted, he was depressed and somewhat insensitive, and I perceived him as not caring -- how stupid, and such a waste of time, energy, and precious feelings -- both of ours.

I made the mistake of calling my Mother, again this morning, (I had already spoken with her last night, to check and see that she was all right, and to help quell her anxiety over having been out of touch for more than a week), and happened to catch her when she was doing her weekly money thing with her secretary. This always makes for a stressful and potentially volatile situation. She leapt at the opportunity to grab me and "shake my beads" as my BM friend Alchemy/Maeve would put it. All of her constant, manufactured anxiety about money came up and grabbed my by the throat. I told both of them that there would be plenty of time to discuss all of these kinds of things when I returned and that for now I needed to concentrate on keeping us healthy and safe. I don't need to be driving an overloaded thirty foot RV through the Sierra's in a worried distressed state of mind. It's hard enough to do when you're going somewhere you're looking forward to -- let alone driving back to something you are dreading. And none of it is real anyway, it's just my Mom's anxiety, everything is going to be fine. I have to keep reminding myself of this.

I've learned that my dear friend, our cat Spot died, and Ana, our housekeeper who is a terrible communicator -- even Spanish speaking people cannot make sense of what she is saying -- just didn't make any sense on the phone, and I don't know what happened. I couldn't understand her and had to call the vet a second time to try to ascertain what might have happened. Ana said she found him dead in his bed yesterday morning. I am so sad. I don't know what happened to him. I keep seeing his sweet black and white face, the wave of his fur, his big eyes, his tail. We are going to have an autopsy because I need to know if he was in any way neglected by Ana and Esther -- if his death could have been prevented.

For all the physical discomfort, the expense, the drama, and the risk of Burning Man, it can be an infinitely better place to be than here. Already I feel the burning pain of muscle tension spreading across my back and shoulders, creeping up into my neck, taking over my lungs and my ability to take full breaths. I will let go. I will meditate. Everything is going to be okay. The news from the world I live in is too much to take in all at once.

Here's a letter I thought you might want to read from one of my oldest friends, Mary, who bought a house in New Orleans and has been spending a lot of time there. I have been worrying about her and am glad to know she is okay. When I called I spoke with her husband and naturally he said the possible damage or even loss of their home was nothing compared to their concern for the people who have lost everything and are/were trapped there.Collapse )