Monday, August 18, 2008

Interlude... Burning Man.


After reading a fellow classmate's blog, and realizing how much this blog needs a little extra touch on life outside nursing school, I decided to focus on what's keeping me sane:
Knowing that no matter what, I'm heading to the Playa.

Unfortunately, the weekend-warrior thing absolutely sucks to do out there, but on the up side, I get to go (once school is over). I didn't think that was the case when I started, and I've been looking at my costumes hanging in the closet rather sadly, dreaming of "out there."

When you hear people say "Burning Man," and you're not a "Burner" (ie one who attends Burning Man, one who likes to light random things on fire in a desert environment), do you think, "Oh right, that drug festival in the desert?" or do you feel a visceral "hipper than thou" reaction? I hope not.
Burning Man is based on the idea of forming a community, well, okay, let me backtrack- I should say the building of Black Rock City:
The temporary city of up to 40,000 people that forms every year out in the Black Rock desert is an experiment in the best of human giving and living.
It's all based on self-reliance, a non-currency economy (although you can bring money to buy ice and coffee), and amazing art pieces.
It's unlike anything you've imagined.

First of all, it's hot, at 4000 feet elevation, and dry. That combined with usually a bunch of cityfolk who aren't used to what my river peeps call "hydration, hydration, hydration" can make for a quick visit to the med tent for an IV. Add alcohol, any other substance on top of that, and you can see how taking care of yourself becomes very important.
But the fun to be had if you can take care of yourself is awesome. Imagine a life-sized Operation game. Yep, exists. Yes, you get shocked for real if you mess up and touch the side of the bread basket. Heh.
Imagine the "Billion Bunny March" where bunnies march for bunny rights. How the hell did that start? I don't know, but there's a Carrot Liberation Federation that marches against their Bunny oppressors and they generally have a peace summit every year that involves drinking. There's the largest light saber fight ever that takes place yearly at Center Camp at sunset on Thursday, where 10,000 people battle it out. There's Cube, a 3-D LED sculpture that is solar-powered and AWESOME, programmed to make various "moving" pieces in its spot, so it looks like it's raining or has a rainbow or all sorts of stuff.
And the costumes. The costumes range from Renaissance style to Mad Max. Incidentally, the Thunderdome is there, and it opens every night with opera. I kid you not. It's huge:

And you thought Dance, Dance Revolution was awesome? Try "Dance Dance Immolation" where you wear a fireproof suit and try to follow the steps. If you mess up, you get blasted. Yes, with flamethrowers. It's RAD. Safety third...

And every morning, bacon wafts around the Playa. People greet each other with Hugs, not handshakes. Artcars take you on adventures. YOU take yourself on adventures, and mostly by bicycle. It's the most amazing place I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot of really cool backwoods spots.

That's my rant. I can't wait to get out there.
My point is, if you like Costumes, freedom, artwork and the unexpected...
and bacon (bacon is a known trade item at the Burn- many friends are made via Pork - and why not? Salt, electrolyte replacement and protein after dancing all night? Yum!), then the Burn might be for you.

It's a place of absolute fun, amazing invention, and human connection. And although I'm not going for the entire time, it's really home for me, so I'll be there for a few days this year. I never thought I knew where I belonged until I went to Black Rock City.
We also had a really interesting talk this week on end-of-life care, and on how we let go of things. If you're familiar with the Temple at Burning man, then you know that it's a non-denominational sculpture, meant to be burned, where people can go and write all week long, bring pieces/mementos from their loved ones or their lives or ANYTHING you want to let go of, and on Sunday night, after the Man burns, the Temple goes- and everyone is silent.
It's beautiful.
It's an amazing ritual, and one I do not plan on missing.
In any case, there's some insight to my world other than nursing.

1 comment:

Jewels said...

Hm. Sounds intriguing.....