12 of My Favorite Memories from Burning Man
It’s been about two months now since I had the privilege of attending Burning Man for the first time. It doesn’t seem that long ago as I write these words but it feels like forever ago. Sitting here at a coffee shop (my office), doing some journaling and reminiscing of the last year of my life, my mind gets hooked in to my memories of Burning Man. Now looking back, I can recall my favorite moments. It was all fabulous. It was all that “fuck yea, I’m glad I did that” kinda of feeling, but the following are definitely note worthy.
1. Sitting at the edge of the Esplanad for the first time at night.
If you have never been to Burning Man before (or maybe you remember your first time going), and on the first night you ride out on your bike to the edge of the Esplanad… and you realize you are in a whole different kind of world. For me it felt like I was standing at the edge of outer space, about to take a leap into an unknown world full of self-discovery, the bizarre and the just plain weird. That’s when I feel in love.
2. Riding my bike.
Can I be honest here? Up until Burning Man I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 12. I’m 34 now. It seriously felt like I was learning to ride a bike all over again, but after almost crashing into a few people I finally got my shit together and was coasting with ease. The ground in which Burning Man is held on is a flat desert like land (actually a dried up lake bed), and as long as you can avoid the piles of “cake batter” like sand, you can ride for hours on nothing but flat land. Wind in your hair, weaving back and forth, passing art installations, art cars and fabulous faces of other festival attendees.
3. Luke’s leg kick.
My friend Luke is a badass ballet dancer. One night we set out to dance to one of my favorite djs, GRIZ. Above the stange, hung a human size bird cage type of contraption in which people would be invited to dance. One would think that if you were lucky enough to be in the cage hanging over the dj on one of the biggest stages at Burning Man that you would have some freak’n rad dance moves. But on this night it seemed the dancer had stage fright. After another friend of mine did some digging, he was able to get our friend Luke in the cage. The best part… the dj building up to a huge bass drop and right as he drops it, Luke kicks his leg in the air doing a perfect spilt. Crowd goes crazy, we go crazy. Luke wins Burning Man, end of story.
4. The Embrace burn.
The Embrace was a huge wooden art sculpture of two people embracing. They set the art piece a flame at 7:00am on Thursday morning of the burn. We woke our asses up at the crack of dawn in order to witness it be in gulped in flames. Worth it.
5. The White Procession.
Let me just say that this was a very magical, and very special part of Burning Man for me. My friends and I dressed all in white and started our journey at 6 o’clock (burning man is based on the hours of a clock), walking towards the temple which sat at 12 o’clock. In between the two, stands the man, in which we passed under his legs. It’s almost sunrise. We walk with others dressed in white, either not speaking or in very faint voices. We arrive at the temple as the sun is coming up and just in time to be reunited with our other friends we got separated with. I can’t explain the feeling I experienced with words. Nor do I wish to. Sometimes memories are best left unexplained. (picture below taken by Richard Pryde Photography)
6. Morning coffee and the naked guy.
Lets just say that there is nothing like waking up in your camp after parting all night, making yourself a damn good cup of coffee and have your neighbor, completely naked, walk by wishing you a good morning. in return you wave, saying good morning with a smile and all is well.
7. Letting go.
Burning Man can definitely be a place where you can dance, party, and explore yourself in ways you didn’t know existed. For me it was a time to let go of things that were no longer serving me. It was the start of a process that needed to happen.
8. Family dinners.
My friends rock. Every night, before going out, we would all sit down and eat a family meal together in which someone prepared (we all took turns cooking dinner). There was something very grounding about having dinner together as the madness of the night intensified. If you ever attend Burning Man or at your next festival experience,I recommend having family dinners. It adds to the experience and connects you deeper to the people you choose to spend time with.
9. Bar hopping.
On the Sunday before the last day of the event, my friends and I mounted our bikes and hit the streets, bringing with us empty cups, gifts and smiles. Hopping around from bar to bar, meeting new people and making new friends. Burning Man is a gifting community so you don’t pay for your drink. You pay in a hug or smile or spanking or merely your presence can be a gift enough.
10. Dusty eyelashes.
It gets dusty on the playa. The dust makes for a great hair and eyelash enhancer.
Everything leading up to the Burn and everything during the Burn was about letting go and TRUSTING the process. It was only a week long but it was a lesson that I will apply to my life as long as I walk this planet.
12. The experience.
That pretty much sums it up… the experience itself. Something to be experienced if you are interested. If you go with an open heart, allow people to give to you and allow yourself to be fully self expressed you may find that it changes your life forever.