A Fictional Recollection In Four Parts
Before Bliss and Bright ever reached Costco Soulmate Camp, Scout was filling out the questionnaire. In a place like Burning man anything could happen, so he thought I would give fate a little push. "How old do you feel?", the questionnaire asked. "Old enough to know better", he responded. "How many secrets do you have?" was the next question. "I don't really know who I am.", was his response.
Sometime on the afternoon of the 3rd day, the questionnaires were fed into a reader and the results were processed. A few minute later, an old dot matrix printer started churning out a long list of names. Next to Miss Bliss was the name Boy Scout.
Bright returned to Steel Forge camp that afternoon and searched for Miss Bliss. "Bliss, Bliss, I got our matches, they were posted at Costco Soulmate. Mine is named Gorgeous George at 4:30 and Extinction, yours is some guy named Boy Scout at 8:00 and DNA. Lets go find them!"
Gorgeous George wasn't hard too find. He was at Muscle Camp and first and foremost was in love with himself. It appeared that he had enough love to share and since Bright wasn't the deepest of souls, they hit it off pretty well. After about 45 minutes and a few mixed drinks, it was evident to Bliss that Bright was in no hurry to move on from her new boy-toy. Bliss excused herself and continued around the radial avenues of Black Rock City in the descending twilight. 8:00 and DNA was only about a half mile away. She could swing by on the way back to camp and still arrive in time for the rave party that evening. She was curious to see what sort of Boy Scout the universe had conjured up for her.
Bliss found the neat and precise dome structure at 8:00 and DNA but there appeared to be no one home when she rapped on what she thought was the door. Looking around the camp she found a box lid and a magic marker and left a message. "Boy Scout - Are you my soulmate? Meet me at the Temple entrance, 7pm Sunday - Miss Bliss"
Boy Scout saw ghostly figures as they materialized out of the storm, walked past him and were once again consumed by the earth. The dust storm had overtaken him from behind and engulfed him without warning as he walked the Playa. As the first timers guide had instructed him, he knelt down, put a handkerchief over his nose and mouth (ala Jesse James robbing a train), put his goggles over his eyes and waited for it to pass. The visibility was down to less than 15 feet as he knelt in the desert. As he waited, his compatriots moved about him in a strange silence, seemingly unaffected by the blowing dust, as though they had lived within it all their lives.
By the time the dust storm had subsided, the sun had started to set and Scout began to make his way back to his dome. It was time to crack open a new box of wine and some tuna fish. His pace had slowed and he was in no hurry. Time sort of stood still here and was dictated more by nature and those around him than by any clock. Arriving back at his dome, he found Bliss' note. "Miss Bliss?", he thought...."How appropriate", he said to himself with a smile.
The next several days were filled with wandering and discovery. The loud thumping techno music that permeated every aspect of Burning Man eventually became a background noise that no longer interrupted Scout's sleep. He found that he could easily exist on a diet of boxed wine, potato chips and macaroni and cheese without any problem. Scout often found himself wandering the far reaches of the playa were various bars and lounges were set up in the middle of nowhere. The drinks were free and the attitudes were beyond care-free. Here in this surreal place, where no one and no drink should be, were lounge chairs and like minded souls and nothing else. Slowly, he thought to himself, he was starting to figure out who he was.
Saturday evening arrived and as the sun set on the second to last day of Burning Man, all the camps slowly emptied as the residents of Black Rock City gathered at the center of the Playa. As they formed a huge circle around the statute of the Man, the last rays of daylight dwindled and a thousand stars slowly appeared over their heads. Soon the fire dancers appeared and encircled the man with burning hoops and batons. The spectacle of 10 acres of moving and undulating fire was impressive and continued for over a half an hour. Then, just as quickly as they had appeared, they dispersed into the crowd and everyone fell silent as their gaze turned to the giant figure that had been the center of their lives for the past week.
Within minutes, hundreds of fireworks shot into the night sky, signaling the impending death of the Man. As the red, green and blue glare of the rockets bathed the Man in mulit-colored light, he slowly raised his mechanical arms over his head. As his arms reached their full height, the crowd let out a thunderous cheer as the final rockets launced with a thunderous salvo. When it did, the base of the Man erupted in a ball of flame which consumed the structure and the Man that stood atop it. As the wood slowly caught fire and the Man began to burn, the heat given off from the inferno was intense, even for those standing 100 yards away.
....to be continued
Burning The Temple - Part 1
Burning The Temple - Part 2
Burning The Temple - Part 3
Burning The Temple - Part 4
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.