Three years ago, I was a Burning Man virgin. However, I disappointed Chris – as Black Rock City simply and immediately felt like home. I wasn’t awestruck and in need of acclimation or transformation. I took to it like a fish in water.. err.. dust. I was meant to be here. He explained to me the delight of introducing the playa to new burners.
I didn’t get it until yesterday.
In our camp of traveling nomads, we have a very high percentage of virgins. And a handful of them existing dear friends that we led out to the event with us this year. Spending time with them and seeing their eyes widen with every day, seeing their souls expand and their spirits sore – has been my most rewarding experience thus far of my Burning Man experience. The art is great, but seeing people’s lives transform before your eyes is where the real magic is.
For example, a fellow technomad arrived early on in the event. For the first few days he wandered around in shorts, logo t-shirts and cheap sunglasses. Yesterday he was adorned in a red sparkly shirt and a mohawk, thanking us for helping him break his own shells.
A group of six who joined us arrived Monday in street clothes. Yesterday we dressed them in more appropriate clothing and sent them out on a mission to explore the city during a mild dust storm. They all came back to camp with grins and white playa hair. When they come back and don’t immediately start dusting their shoes off, I’ll know they’ve fully arrived.
With each art car that passes our camp, it’s amazing to watch their expressions. Look. Blink. ‘Is that a…’. Stutter. ‘Jellyfish’? Yes, I’ll reply. And it’s also a mobile bar.
Last night I took them all on an expedition to the Cubatron – possibly my all time favorite art on the playa. I fondly remembered my first hours on the playa as I immersed myself in its geeky engaging artness. I watched my virgin’s minds be blown wide open. Life will never be the same for any of them.
And it’s only Wednesday at sunrise.