Finding It

I got it. I was experiencing complete freedom. Complete and pure existence with no boundaries. Only, it took a week for that to set in.

While I did my best to release myself from all expectations, I have to admit that after 3 years of attending the Texas Regional Burn I was preparing myself for my first Burning Man experience with the mindset that it would be much of the same, only bigger. I was really looking forward to that considering I got so much from the Flipside TX community, but my eyes were clouded and my journey was only just beginning.

Arriving Wednesday night in a blur of synchronicity and flashing colored lights, I happen upon my camp-mates amid a full-swing cocktail party in formal wear. The days fade into one another as time slips away and only moments in existence remain.

The darkness of empty playa all around, I see the faint glow of ultraviolet in the distance. It draws me and I flow towards its radiance. I come upon a moment from my childhood brought to vivid reality. The memories of my stepfather teaching me to play chess when I was seven come to me full force as I take in the concept of this life-sized chess setup. I am so lost in it that I don’t notice that three other people all come up to it at the same time, nobody knowing one another. Somehow we all come to the conclusion that we were meant to play…and while we revel in each other’s wit we suddenly realize that this battle is over and the real answer we were looking for is that both sides resolve their differences and live in peaceful bliss. We share a profound moment, then proceed to wander off into the darkness from which we came.

I look and look and look for my friends that I know are there and I haven’t encountered yet, and in the seemingly endless streets I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for.

While wandering the Esplanade, I happen upon this geodesic sphere of metal that resonates within me. I can’t resist the urge to ascend its stairs and exist within its framework. Lying upon my back and staring up into the boundless expanse of stars above me through the lattice of human engineering, a peacefulness overcomes me and I find that another soul has been drawn by the same pull that tugged at my being. Few words pass between us as few are needed, and we share an understanding and connection that surpasses vocal expression. When we part ways we talk of reconnecting at another time and place, but that does not come to pass and the moment is all we had.

I search the city for some sign of my family that somehow elude me, and I begin to wonder if I’ll ever find them.

About midday two of my campmates ask me if I would like to join them on an excursion to the outer fence. Never one to turn down a new experience, I strap on my supplies and we venture to the outer expanses. The bike ride seemed to last an eternity with only the sounds of wind in our ears and creating an eerie hush to the surrounding activities. We make our way into the heart of solitude and encounter moments of expression in humanity, spirituality, joyfulness, and sorrow. Having drawn these experiences into ourselves, we trek back to our home. On the way, our mission is thrown to the winds by a chance whiteout, and amid the swirling dusts a locomotive emerges from the haze, and to all of our complete disbelief we find ourselves dancing at a train from the mists while enjoying peach snowcones provided by the engineer.

I have come to accept that I’m not going to find my missing family and while it saddens me, I know that our spirits mingle in this city outside of time.

Another virgin campmate of mine (having had the same Flipside history as I) discusses with me his feelings on the Burning Man experience. He tells me that he was looking for a personal and community connection that we seem to both experience in Austin but that he found lacking here in BRC. I don’t disagree with him, as with this immense number of people the connections can be more difficult to attain, and when they are made it’s a rare chance that you reconnect down the line. However, I was able to offer insight that turned out to be more for myself that for him. If you want cheese, no amount of squeezing will get cheese out of bread. So if you want cheese, go get yourself some cheese. But don’t throw out the bread…because bread can be pretty tasty too. Don’t lose an amazing experience just because you were looking for something else.

Next thing I know…I look around me and see the city I have come to call home fading back into the dust it came from. I hop on my bike and let myself roam free…boundless and unfettered. I have just found the family of mine that I’d been looking for all week, and I’ve just discovered that I was looking for the wrong thing the entire time. I suppose that when you stop looking for it, it finds you. I look into the faces of those around me and see the dusty smiles and tears of the realization we’re going back to our everyday, and the gaining of a timelessness that makes these moments live on in our hearts for the remainder of our existence.

This is only the beginning.

by Josh Skywise

BLM Issues 5-Year Permit To Burning Man

Thank you to everyone who sent their public comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the new stipulations that the BLM wanted to impose this year.  The good news is that we got most of what we wanted, including a 5-year permit.  Following is a summary of the results.

There will be no population cap this year.  The BLM is allowing us 6% growth per year, which is about what we anticipate based on ticket sales and historical data.  If the population exceeds that amount then we will have to address any infrastructural challenges.  As in past years, any evictions of unruly participants will be handled by the Black Rock Rangers in cooperation with law enforcement officers.  Also, we will be allowed to deduct working staff from fee calculations as we have done in the past.  The BLM is still planning to make Burning Man pay the bill for local law enforcement costs on top of the fees that Burning Man already pays.  Black Rock City, LLC is currently deciding whether to appeal this stipulation or not.

On a related issue, the BLM needs to respond to the over 4,000 participants who sent in public comments.  In order to help save some trees, we have agreed to send out the BLM’s response on the JRS, and post on our website.  Following is the BLM’s Notice of Decision including a link to related documents:

United States Department of the Interior
Winnemucca Field Office
5100 East Winnemucca Boulevard
Winnemucca, Nevada 89445


NV-020-06-EA-11 (NV25.11)

Dear Interested Public,

The Winnemucca Field Office has authorized a five-year Special Recreation Permit for Black  Rock City LLC to conduct the Burning Man event for the years of 2006-2010.   The permit may be renewed for up to four additional years, subject to satisfactory permit compliance.  The permit  must be authorized annually following an event evaluation, site inspections, and cooperator’s  coordination meetings.  The final decision to authorize a five-year permit was based on analysis  of the potential environmental impacts and public comments.  The decision incorporates  elements of the proposed action and alternatives proposed in the preliminary Environmental  Assessment (EA).

The final Environmental Assessment, Decision Record/Finding of No Significant Impact, and  permit stipulations are posted on-line at the Winnemucca BLM Field Office web-site at  Please contact the Winnemucca Field Office to request a hard copy.  If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Dave Lefevre, Outdoor Recreation Planner at (775) 623-1500.

David C. Cooper, NCA Manager [para_end]

The Gauzy Strip

I began this magical night with a group of friends by going to a dance tent that featured retro themes – this night was 70’s glam rock. We got the makeup and glitter on and hit the dance floor. Then we hopped on a double-decked art-bus, and rode around the playa for awhile. At some point, everyone got off the bus, but I could not locate my pals…such was the mystical nature of that eve. I accepted this as divine intervention that I was to wander solo. I soon came upon a tent filled with frenetic music and dancers. There was a beautiful blonde woman standing before me in a fuzzy bikini. Her eyes met mine and we exchanged a few words, something about my not having a Burning Man kiss yet this year. The next thing I knew, she embraced me and gave me a soulful deep tongue kiss – I could feel it all the way to my toes! I bowed to her and drifted off into the dance floor, high on the electricity of the moment.

I made my way down the outer Esplanade, stopping into other dance zones for some more hyper-electric boogaloo. I happened upon an outdoor DJ who was playing some very intense beats. I dove in, and wound up dancing on the outer perimeter – the edge where the crowd met the dark playa. A beautiful 1920’s/goth girl (with some serious dance moves!) loaned me her dark lipstick Soon I was joined by a dancer wrapped in white gauzy material. She moved in a graceful and captivatingly unique style, her head completely obscured by the flimsy material. I gravitated toward her; soon we were dancing together out on the dark playa, away from the throng. I longed to see her face…soon I approached her. We stopped dancing and she drew near to me. Slowly, ever so slowly, she lifted her gauzy veil to reveal the most amazingly cherubic beautiful blue-eyed face. I was stunned. She revealed her name. The veil dropped and we resumed our dance, she eventually spun off into the darkness of the playa, disappearing like an apparition. Ahhhh, Burning Man!

by Boombox