What I Did This Summer
I went camping!
Well, I went to Burning Man. And I slept in a tent.
And I had the time of my life.
I've been going to this event since 2001, when I moved to California. My point of view at the time was that I hadn't done it before, I'd heard of it, and I wanted to check it out. I did. And I found it transformative.
All these years later, it is still an exciting week for me. Over the years I've mellowed, so the way that I experience the event has changed. Staying up til way past dawn isn't something that I can do anymore. But I do pedal around in the desert well past midnight, marveling at the lit up art and roving vehicles, blasting music as people dance around. It's a real celebration, a county fair on steroids.
This was a particularly terrific year, with lots of new friends and experiences. A stand out experience was at Center Camp, the de facto rec room of the event:
Here’s the setup on this shot: every day at Burning Man I was chased out of my tent by the heat of the rising sun. My routine is to clean up, get dressed, hop on my bike and ride off to Center Camp, where I get an americano and read my book for a couple of hours. Full disclosure: I do my best reading at Burning Man. This year’s book is a revisit of Sophocles Oedipus The King . And as Mark Twain said, “History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.” Anyhow, someone had the brilliant idea to write “FREE ADVICE” on the back of a chair, and that’s where I sat. What was supposed to be a couple of hours turned into four hours of receiving and dispensing advice. I had four clients, each one so open, so available to being open about where they are and what their hopes are. It’s something of a clichè to say that we are humbled by this or that, but I did feel that way as I connected with four humans on that Tuesday morning.
I have a lot of conversations with curious people who visit me at the shop. And I ask them the same question: "If you had the chance to go to Woodstock, would you have gone?" The implication being, Burning Man may very well not be around forever. It's a tenuous thing, with lots of reasons why it may not happen forever.
So go. Stretch your limits. Try something new. And I will guarantee you- it is unlike anything you've ever seen, or experienced!