Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Going to Burning Man with my dad!
(image from matt.peterson.org )
How many people get to say that?
My father is 62 years old and loves Burning Man. He's been going for several years, and to him, it is Mecca. He's wanted me to come with him for just as long, but there has always been too much on my plate: school, work, motherhood, lack of money, lack of time... until now. I realized that when I get my Master's degree I might work for a school district, which means it will be impossible to get time off at the beginning of the school year. And, even if I work for an agency not dependent on a school calendar, it might be tricky spending some of my valuable vacation time on "the burn." Then my dad had a heart attack on New Year's Eve and I knew now was the time. I had to go to Burning Man with my father at least once or I would regret it for the rest of my life.
My husband Rick agreed. "You have to go. It doesn't matter how much a ticket costs, you're going."
Isn't my husband the greatest?
Since my ticket arrived in February, I've been planning and organizing and saving and preparing, physically and mentally. The "playa," which is the bed of an ancient extinct lake, is a challenging and even dangerous environment. The alkaline dust will suck the moisture right out of your skin. Dust storms and 30 mph winds are common. The temperature can exceed 115 F during the day and 45 at night. Dehydration and sun stroke are a serious threat.
But there are also artists from all over the world creating incredible art and giant sculptures of steel and glass. There are fascinating and talented people sharing their music and crafts. There is a night sky so black you can see the crisp edges of every star. There is debauchery, yes, sex and raves. And there is beauty everywhere you turn. People come and create a brilliant city in an inhospitable place that only lasts two weeks. Then it's gone, like a far away echo of music in the wind.
My car is loaded and tomorrow I leave for northern Nevada to meet my father in Black Rock City. I hope to explore the art and meet interesting people, dance under the moon and take long siestas during the hot afternoons. Mostly though, I want to spend time with my father. His heart is strong now and he'll more than likely live another 20 years, but when he is gone, I want this memory to last forever.
So if you're wondering where I am for the next week, you'll find me at 7:45 and Hanoi in Black Rock City, Nevada.