I've always had an affinity for the number 7.
I was born in Las Vegas with three 7's in my birth-date, 07/071967.
I thought that meant something.
I was at Burning Man for 7 days.
The camp and art piece I was involved with had many 7 references.
Why does this matter?
Because I could write and talk about my Burning Man experience Ad infinitum or given how much I have going on, how much is back logged and how much is on the horizon, my Burning Man time could go the way my Alchemy trip went, one lackluster post with promised transcripts that never were to be.
There will be 7 blog entries.
And they won't come close to telling the tale, they will be a mirage of my time in the desert.
They will be limited, hopefully in the way a haiku or sonnet or poem is limited.
In that, I hope to capture rain drops and mist from the downpour of experience that was my virgin voyage on the Playa.
"Timing is Everything The 24x7 Time-Star"
Prior to 2012, I had not been to Burning Man in spite of myself.
Many friends have gone.
For some it is their life-stay, their religion.
And yet I never went.
I was always too busy.
Then I went to "Lighting in a Bottle" with the family for a day, and while in Georgia I went to Alchemy, a regional burn.
And I became a "burner". Even though I didn't know it.
When the timing worked out that 2012 was to be my Burning Man experience, I thought little of the burners I had met in Georgia. I was a West Coast fellow with plenty of West Coast peeps who burned.
But my Southern burner family was at the time closer and more relevant to my world.
I had seen Charlie's work's a few times and my family spent the better part of last New Year's Eve celebrating at Sparseland, so it was only natural that I at the very least make contact with him.
I offered my limited services to the Time Star project and before I knew it I was camping with them.
Timing is Everything.
I of course had my preconceptions.
I had expectations and reservations.
I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst.
I was right and wrong on most points.
But it wasn't until after the event, when I thought about what I would write about, when I realized that pieces of my past, ideals that had not been looked at, or maybe were looked but not in the terms of Burning Man did I realize how at least to preface my works on my virgin voyage.
Words from Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching, a book I've read over and over and the philosophy/religion I identify most with:
“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
ELEPHANT AND THE BLIND MEN
Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features, what you all said."
"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.
Are You Trying To Say Something?
My experience at Burning Man 2012, was just that, my experience.
I suppose that can be said of anyone's writing, photography, art, there and beyond, today and throughout time.
I feel I really, really need to make note and underline this point, because of how much I have read and researched and seen; and how right and wrong it all is.
Burning Man is an Individual and Unique Journey, you will get and take as befits you. It is awesome and awful. It can be life-changing, life-affirming, or ho-hum. Actually I would be surprised if anyone went away with ho-hum.
What is Burning Man?
Are there a lot of drugs at Burning Man?
Yes and yet no.
Is the Environment harsh?
Yes and yet no.
Is there sex everywhere?
Yes and yet no.
Is it "safe" for kids?
Yes and yet no.
What about the art?
It's everywhere and nowhere.
Should I go?
This is my preface.
This will give some framework to my next 6 entries which will only scratch the surface of my experience, which will barely give an peek into the Burning Man culture, but it is what I can and will give.