Here comes the sun

How’s that for an omen?

There was a big rainbow over Black Rock City on Sunday night, just in time for the people leaving the Commissary after dinner to look skyward and yell, “A rainbow! A double rainbow!! … A triple rainbow!! What does it meeeeaaannn???”

Of course they were all mimicking the hilarious YouTube video that went around a while back, which you can see here. … The rainbow was amazing, and the number of people who referenced the video was pretty amazing, too.

Honestly though, you never get tired of the sky in these parts. It always bears watching.  On a day like today, when the blue is just impossibly blue, and the sky is filled with puffy white clouds, you catch yourself looking up in amazement at … nothing, really. Just the big vast wide-open sky. It’s kind of silly, but not at all.

With the rigging done, the shade was beginning to go up in Center Camp.

I  think most people were looking forward to the heat and the sun this year. Yes, it’s almost always hot and bright here, so it’s not a surprise, but if you come from San Francisco, like a lot of people here do, you are really sick of the cold and the fog. Even in a city known for its miserable summers, this has been a doozy. Someone said that during the entire month of July, there had only been three mornings with sunshine. I believe it. So dreary. So yes, we were ready for some heat and some light, and we’re getting it.

In another week we’ll want a break. It was hot today, and it’s supposed to get hotter every day until at least Wednesday. Today was very calm, although the wind came up big time toward the end of the day. It was the first real whiteout, and everyone pulled out their goggles and facemasks. One woman was saying at dinner how she LOVED the dust storms, and it’s true. The first couple are magic; the light goes all golden, and your skin gets caked with the beautifying playa, and your hair goes all funky and white, and it’s a little like being in a warm rain, except you don’t get wet. Beautiful.

But it’s also like that first rain in October or November, at least for me. It’s been so LONG since you’ve been in a storm, and you stay huddled inside all cozy with books and soup and a movie. By February, though, you’re over it. Just like you’re over the summer in San Francisco right now. So pack your sunscreen and your goggles, you’re going to need them. And isn’t that a happy thing?

Anyway, after the rainbow last night, a storm rolled through. There was thunder in the distance, and more than a smattering of rain. The sky put on a spectacular show, even by the standards of the desert.

This really was how red the sky was Sunday night, and there was another rainbow over the town of Gerlach. Later, there was some rain and some lightning, too.

Aristotle gave us a ride on a boom lift towards the end of the day yesterday. It was a lot to ask, because the days are long and hard around here, and when the end of the day comes, there’s not much more that you want to look forward to than perhaps a cold beer or two. But Aristotle was kind enough to finish his duties over in Heavy Equipment, then come and give a couple of photogs a lift into the sky.

We saw Limbo Lloyd in town on Sunday, helping out again. He was the one, remember, who rescued us from being stranded in the desert.

I asked if he had internet at home, and he said no. So I invited him into the Black Rock office so he could see the little story about him and look at the pictures. He declined. My guess is he didn’t want much of a fuss made about the whole thing. I’ve got his address, though, so we’ll send him a printout via snail mail when we get back to civilization.

About the author: John Curley

John Curley has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 he spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. John is a longtime newspaper person and spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since leaving the Chronicle in 2007, he was a contributing editor on Blue Planet Run, a book about the world's water crisis, and for the past two years has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He has also started an event and editorial photography business, and is also working on a book about the "Ten Dollar Doc" from Arco, Idaho, which will make a lovely film someday.

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