We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Jawaharlal Nehru
So maybe because it’s the time of year that it normally happens, maybe it’s because I was in the Nevada desert last week and got the feel of the morning desert air. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling a bit trapped at the moment, a bit depressed, a bit judged. Whatever it is, although I’ll likely never go back if it happens again, I miss Burning Man.
For those of you who are unaware, Burning Man is a festival that typically takes place in the Nevada Desert outside of Gerlach, during the week leading up to Labor Day. It takes place on BLM land on an open desert patch known as the playa. It’s an amazing place, a festival that has been taking place for over thirty years, that has grown to an incredible near 100,000 people in the desert.
Burning Man is an amazing place, an ethereal city built out of and returned to the dust in about a two week period. Theme camps are built and provide the ultimate adult playground for a week. It’s a city and a culture that is beyond imagination, and truly is something that has to be experienced to be believed or understood. I’ve heard it, and described it, in a myriad of ways. It’s been described as a waking acid trip, and a naked pagan art festival in the desert.
But what I really miss about it is a couple of very specific things. First, I miss the ability to get completely out of my life for a week. Second, I miss the beauty of being in a place where no one is judged. As I’ve often said, if you look 360 degrees at Burning Man, you will never ever be the weirdest person, and if you are, I really want to meet you.
It’s a week, that while it’s hard desert camping, sometimes in extreme heat and heavy winds, it’s also an easy, stressless week where you can let things go. It can be a cathartic week in many ways.
For the last few years I’ve camped with Camp, Oh Know You Didn’t. The camp features a confessional bar, where you must confess a sin to get your first drink. The perfect place for a reverend to bartend. The stories that people tell are beyond your imagination, I promise you. But beyond the stories, there’s something magnificent about this set up. When you meet someone for the first time, and immediately confess a sin, you’ve bypassed all of the normal surface bullshit and small talk you usually engage in when you first meet. You immediately are talking at a deeper level and that makes for some truly spectacular conversations. I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life at that bar.
So I’m missing Burning Man this week, I’m missing freedom, community, deep connections with other humans in a place where I’ve never seen a fistfight, or an argument between anyone except people in a relationship and then even rarely. In our politically divided, Covid infested, literally burning world, it sure would be wonderful to step out for a week. ~ Rev Kane