Inhale… it’s time


by Kara Zamora

I remember not sleeping that night, I had so much to do & I hadn’t even finished cramming everything into my worn army surplus duffel bags… I was excited! To be leaving for Burning Man, finally. So much of my summer turned into preparing for this journey. I remember the quiet of that morning, I walked out of my door at around 4 am. I remember the quiet of the train ride to the airport…

It was revealed to me very early on that when it comes to Burning Man, everything that you sincerely want will find it’s way to you somehow. I remember the exact moment I decided to go after just entertaining the idea of going for months… a friend said to me something along the lines of “I don’t care if I’m living on top of a mountain, at the bottom of the ocean, in the jungle, anywhere–I will make it to Burning Man every year”. And I think then, only HE could have said that to me. He’s flipped a lot of switches in my head, probably without him realizing…. anyway, I bought my ticket. Before I even knew who I could camp with, how I could get to the Black Rock City, how I could afford the extra expenses, because I knew that having the ticket, making that COMMITMENT, would make me find a way to make everything else work. And it did, as it always does… decisions are the hardest part for me. But as soon as you commit the way will reveal itself.

What that week ended up being all about for me though was sunrise…

Thursday night into Friday morning, I decided to crash out in Entheon’s common area (as the week progressed, more & more of us slept out there instead of in our tents), I was dehydrated & couldn’t sleep & had to work in the morning anyway. So I decided to walk out to the playa to watch the sunrise… my first sunrise there.

I sat down at the front of my village when my friend Caton walked by! Hadn’t seen him in months. And he told me to walk out to a fire in the middle of the playa were a group of people were waiting for sunrise. So I did, & it’s significant that he told me this too… could only have been him. Out in the middle of the playa, the chill & silence of the morning & the warmth of the fire & those strangers…

Then the sun rose over the edge of the mountains. So bright & alive! And so warm, I melted right into the light that started to hit everything, rising higher & higher… & I was just so moved by it. Somehow it was THE most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And I just wanted to walk into it, be part of it. I got up & started walking into the sunrise, never feeling anything like that before. It led me to the sunrise trance party at Esplanade & 2:00. When I dance is when I feel the most free, so dancing into that sunrise with all of those beautiful strangers…

Sometimes it’s hard to connect to people. But I had never felt connected to the SUN before, to the air before, to the earth before… & you know the whole God is in everything, the universe is conscious & perfect, I AM the universe, life is eternal & beauty is in everything? I got it. In that sunrise I got it. Being so awake! And so fully aware of my own existence, it felt like I could see & hear & feel in 360 degrees. I felt reborn, everything around me felt new! And I let so much go…

I walked back to camp & all I had the capacity to do was find someone to curl up to. I found Rubee on the couch in the common area… it could only have been him then. My father in this tribe, I’ve been through so much with him. He was sitting next to Koko (who was the first person to ever tell me about Burning Man)… I curled up into him & sobbed. I can’t remember the last time I cried before that. And when Rubee had to do something for the camp (he was manager on duty that morning)… I found TJ & curled up to him, lol. He & I were family back in Tampa, it could only have been him that morning too.

That’s what all of this has been about for me.

One of the most wonderful elements of that week for me was eating dinner as a village, then going out at night with different people every night & not knowing where you would be or who you would be with at sunrise but that it would always be beautiful & just as it should be.

The stars… stars & stars hanging in the deep black sky… stars like I’ve never seen. When I think about looking up on those nights & being breathtaken, I giggle a little… the way you giggle when remembering the great night before with someone on your way to work the next day.

And all those other intimate little details… the way someone whose look has been going right through me for months intensified, even in just quick glances across the way… the private conversations… all those details. Some things, I think, only belong in a person’s heart & memory…

I definitely felt the shift in mood from community on Wednesday to party on Thursday. But when we all watched the Man burn…. it didn’t matter. All of us who watched him burn in my group were newbies! I stand when the fireworks started. And maybe it was just me, but everyone around me was making out when the Man was burning. Three of the 4 people who tried to make out with me succeeded, the 4th got pretty close though. And JoLo, my ddaarrrlliinnngg made out with 2 boys! Deeper than that, the energy was just… LOVE. Two different people walked over to me while I was standing there watching the Man collapse tell me I was beautiful. One of them said “you are so magnificently beautiful.” That meant so much.

…Sunday night we burned the Temple of Hope. I could see the spot where my message was from where I was watching with Troy.

Silence. Crackle. Light. Healing.

And then I was home. And it was time to start re-integrating. I got really sick as soon as I got home…That first week back was so busy & all I want to do was sleep… I really missed BRC, the magic of the playa. I kind of shifted into hermit mode for a while. All I wanted was silence & time to re-integrate…

Last weekend though, about a week removed from Burning Man I was still feeling off, really off… then I realized that the feeling wasn’t from the decompression process anymore. It was from all those things in the years prior to my first Burn that just couldn’t be anymore now that I’ve had my first Burn. I’m different. It’s hard to come back & be the same after spending a week seeing beyond what you thought was possible. I left the playa wanting to be better. Better at everything I do, to learn everything I want to do… to be a better person. All those little changes I’m making to find my center… finding harmony in Bikram Yoga… sitting down for meals… keeping internet & cable tv out of my apartment… all the conversations I’ve had about our Burns…

Everything is changing & it’s beautiful.

So that was my first Burning Man! A part of me is still there, will always be there, the way there are pieces of me everywhere, with people…

… and how old am I again? I’m 19 years young :o) I know I’m better off figuring so many things out so young.

Exhale…

About the author: Tales From The Playa

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

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