We’re well past the Burn, and past the San Francisco and Sac decompressions (we made SF, missed Sac this year), but we’re still feeling a buzz about Burning Man 2013. For reasons that are both obvious and mysterious, this was our best Burn ever.
The obvious reasons are the benign weather with only a few, short-lived dust storms; a kind and forgiving playa that had been left flatter and harder than normal because of unusual amounts of rain earlier in the year; and the quality and quantity of art. Oh, and the Man spun around 360 degrees at night. What a wonderful year to be at Burning Man. If it was your first, I can only hope that you could focus on all that was happening around you so you could see, hear and feel this amazing event.
The mystery of such a great Burn comes out of that unique combination of people, attitudes and essence. It all seemed to come together this year in a memorable manner.
If there was a downer side, it was the constant rumors about bad weather. This kind of negative prognostication has occurred before, but this year it had a substantive effect on a critical part of the Burn: exodus. The Burning Man organization apparently had an inside source giving them detailed and (supposedly) accurate weather information. The warnings of a drenching rainstorm that could shut down all traffic began in the late afternoon of the final day. Its effect was immediate. People started leaving in droves.
The warning affected the temple burn, which was attended by a smaller than usual crowd. Those who stayed were treated to one of the more memorable conflagrations of my eight Burns – probably because the Temple of Wholyness was built with so many giant-sized holes in it that it created multiple paths for air to enter and increase combustion. It was truly magnificent.
But exodus itself was a nightmare – reports of 8, 9 or 10 hour waits to get out of Black Rock City abound. And, irony of ironies, it never rained beyond a few sprinkles. Perhaps it was a case of weather Karma. Making predictions of what will happen at Burning Man are a fool’s errand, and so – apparently – is predicting the weather for Black Rock City. Maybe somewhere in Nevada there was a huge rainstorm, but it skipped over BRC, which makes sense, because Black Rock City doesn’t really exist once the Temple has burned and the Festival is officially over. So how could it be rained on?
Lashes and I are still feeling tingly about our time at the Burn, and especially with Lamplighters this year. We kicked butt getting those lamps up and down daily. And it seemed equally successful for most of the villages, camps and attractions. Everything worked (at least most of the time), and there was an overwhelming sense of love in the air.
Decompressions are a different story. They’re fine, and fun, and remindful of Burning Man. But the one’s we’ve been to simply are not Burning Man, and the people who only attend the decompression events and think they’ve experienced Burning Man are missing out on the greatest event of its kind on planet Earth. So if you’ve gone to the parties, make a commitment now to come to Nevada next year for the real Burn. It’s beyond your wildest dreams.