What Inspires: BURNING MAN
Upon arrival at Reno Airport, last Monday, we were greeted by all manner of folks holding "I NEED A TICKET!" signs.
"Ticket to what?"
Near baggage claim, a row of tables crowded with "interesting" and "artsy" types with yarn woven into their hair and camping gear, busily passed around papers and scribbled on sign up sheets. The buzz was audible, their excitement, catching. What ever sort of camp or convention they were going to, I wanted to go to.
Then I spotted a poster of a metal sculpture mounted on a pyre and knew:
BURNING MAN is an 8 day-long event held in the Nevada desert, about 100 miles north of Reno.
I've never been to Burning Man. The first I heard of it was in a Reno bike shop a few years back when the salesperson suggested I could get the best deal on a used bike the weekend after Labor Day because thousands bring bikes to ride at Burning Man (as no cars are allowed inside) and then dump them rather than pay to have them shipped home.
The rest I had heard of Burning Man was it's a week-long camp out in the desert, with no amenities, lots of drugs, music, art and wild costumes.
The latest I'd seen of Burning Man is an exhibit in the Reno Airport (while waiting to leave Wednesday) of massive, detailed, awe-inspiring sculptures erected in the desert: :
metal ships cast adrift in the sand sea;
twisted semi-trailers squirming skyward.
sea creatures . . .
and of course, the human effigy from whence the gathering takes it's name. Burning Man is torched the last Saturday night of the gathering.
Afterwards, and through today, the 1st Monday in September, Labor Day, participants dismantle the community. . They pack out their trash and tents and disburse.
If you'd like to know more about Burning Man, you'll find oodles of photos, videos, blogs, etc. etc. and so forth . . .
But you might not find THIS. . .
THIS, coupled with the thought of 50 to 60,000 people from 22 countries
coming together to celebrate, create and support art
--and others just out to have a grand time--is what inspires me about a week-long camp- out with strangers in the middle of the arid, hot, dry, summer, hot, dry, dusty, hot, dry desert.