Sunday, November 1, 2009

Burning The Temple - Part 4



A Fictional Recollection in Four Parts

The Man burned brightly, and he burned for almost an hour. A huge bonfire that light up the desert and the thousands of followers that had come to witness it. Scout watched from the front rows, the heat from the Man was so intense that he had to shield his eyes from the flames. The same heat bathed Bliss' face as she stood among the thousands.

The partying went on well into the wee hours of the morning as some revelers went all out on their last night in paradise. Others slowly started to disassemble their camps to leave for what they called the 'default world' the next morning. Scout wandered the Playa well into the evening hours, thinking and contemplating. He had so little time to do any of this in the world he had come from.

Sunday dawned with many of the adjacent camp sites empty as a long line of Burners made their way out of Black Rock City. Wandering the Playa the previous night, Scout had decided to stay until Sunday night. He wanted to take it all in and see what the last gasp of the event would be like. He had nothing to run back to. He was in no hurry and there was still one last thing he had to find out.

The Temple was the last structure to be burned. All throughout the day, there were raging bonfires along the avenues as Burners set fire to the remains of their camps. Columns of smoke rose into the air throughout the day as wood and fabric were consumed in the giant steel cauldrons that were placed around the Playa. As dusk approached, Scout walked to the Temple, in order to arrive before it was finally closed to prepare it for consumption. As he approached the entrance, he saw a woman adorned in furry knee high boots, bright orange bikini bottoms, a low cut t-shirt and multi-colored dreadlocks that flowed down her back. Across the top of her bare chest was written the word 'Bliss' in bright orange finger paint.

"Miss Bliss, I presume?", Scout inquired.

"Boy Scout.", replied Bliss with a smile, "...you made it."

The two walked up the incline into the interior of the Temple. They spoke at ease about their experiences of the past week, and their impressions of the art and the burning of the Man. They maneuvered their way through the crowds that were looking at the inscriptions on the Temple walls one last time.

Bliss turned to Boy Scout and asked, "So, do you think you know who you are now?"

"I am not sure", replied Scout, "...but I am starting to figure it out."

"Yeah, Burning Man will do that to you."

Bliss leaned against the railing and looked out at the 6 o'clock Avenue toward the site of where the Man had stood. Scout leaned forward next to her and surveyed the world that they had known together for the past seven days.

"Glad you could make it.", she said with a smile.

Bliss glanced over at Scout and saw him scribbling something on the railing. He stuffed the pen back into his pocket and smiled at Bliss.

"I'll be back.", he replied..

Bliss and Boy Scout left the Temple at 6pm and walked together back toward where the Man had stood. Half way there, they turned to see flames rising up from the Temple, as all of the thoughts, prayers and hopes that were inscribed within it were consumed.


Burning The Temple - Part 1
Burning The Temple - Part 2
Burning The Temple - Part 3
Burning The Temple - Part 4

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Writers Note: The imagery and some of the events represented in this work of fiction were taken from my recent trip to the Burning Man Festival in 2009. To see more of my photographs from the event check out my Flickr Collection. To view my video documenting our trip to Burning Man, check out my You Tube channel. You can also check out the Burning Man Video Guide on my You Tube Channel as well. If you want to learn more, visit the Burning Man Website.