Holy crap, just like that it’s done.
There’s a fair amount of breakdown happening today in Black Rock City. People are pulling up stakes (quite literally), camps are knocking down their shade, and all of a sudden there are playa spaces opening up where crowded campsites used to be.
The playa is reclaiming its primacy. There shouldn’t be anything here, and soon there won’t be anymore.
There may be other kinds of breakdowns going on today too, of a more personal nature, but we’ll leave that for another time. Maybe when we get back to our customary lives, we’ll ask you what it felt like to have to leave this all behind.
But for now, there’s still a lot of story left. The Temple will burn tonight. The big cars and big crowds will gather in eerie, contemplative silence. The torch will be put to the Temple of Flux, and all the work and love and heartache and memories will float up into the desert wind.
It’s breezy and a little cooler today, but there is still lots of dust in the air. It could be coming from all sleeping bags and tents being shaken out before being loaded back into cars and trucks and RVs. Soon enough the bigger structures will come down, too. The Center Cafe will have to go back in it’s box for another year, the carpets put back into their railroad containers, the rigging wires rolled up, the shade tarps folded and stored.
We haven’t been down to the Gate today, but we know the line of vehicles leaving the city started last night, even before the burning of the Man. It’s the end of summer, the end of the Burn, and the other life awaits. At midday Sunday, there was about a 3 hour wait to get out of the City, and the population had already shrunk to 38,275 (from its high of more than 50,000).
Ideally, you think you’ll take home some of the life you discovered here. You certainly think that the people you met here will become a part of your world. And for some people, their lives really did change. They’ll go back home only long enough to wrap things up and head for San Francisco, looking to find a place among the culture and community and free spirits residing there. (I am not making this part up. I know more than a few people who’ve made the move after Burning Man.)
Others will go home to stay, but they might try to keep the spirit alive through a connection with a Regional network.
We haven’t talked much about the Regional doings, and that’s our fault. The very lovely District Everywhere camp was the meeting place this week for the disparate elements of Black Rock Nation. You could read about the Kiwi Burn, for example, which has been going on in New Zealand for 10 years now. Or you could discover that Australia just hosted its first regional burn. And while New York has a very active group of Regional burners, there is also a contingent from … New Jersey! (We have a special place in our hearts for New Jersey. We were raised there, and we kind of think of it as the Hayward of the East. (And we say that in the most loving way possible.)
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Again! It’s too soon to let go, so we won’t! Not yet!