Magical moments occur of their own accord at Burning Man. These often appear as a spontaneous act of generosity, the perfect gift, or they might simply be a moment of special significance that would be missed if you weren’t paying attention. At Burning Man 2008, my magical moment was a dream that came true within an hour of wishing it.
This was the second burn for me and my partner, Flossie Starbutts III. As we were setting up our trailer at the Burning Mbers Camp, our neighbor Desert Wren was putting finishing touches on what she called Dream Tags, gifts she had made for her campmates.
“What is your dream?” she asked each burner. Then she carefully wrote the dream on the colorful quilted square, and hung it around the burner’s neck.
She got to me as we were readying our bikes for our initial foray out to see this year’s Man. What was my dream? I said the first thing that popped into mind. “Free flight.”
That was weird! Because by all appearances, I already live a dream that is the envy of many wannabe fliers: In the Default World I am an airline pilot. Not only do I fly jets around all time, I have also flown hot air balloons, gliders, seaplanes, aerobatics, and, oh yeah, I fell through the air under a parachute once, too. Plus, I get to fly for free as a benefit of my job.
But Burning Man was working its magic. In the spontaneity of the moment, an unfulfilled desire rose up to reveal itself: That I still have not flown free.
Desert Wren carefully wrote my Dream Tag: “My dream is of flying free on the playa.”
And off we went, Flossie and I, biking out to see the Man. Then something shiny and silver glinted in the sun. We changed course to go see what it could be. As we biked closer, it became a gigantic steel sculpture of bird wings with outstretched feathers, mounted onto a steel ring that was large enough to stand in. Standing in the ring, I was putting on a pair of huge silver bird wings. Just then, a breeze kicked up and I in my wings slowly pivoted in the wind… Flying free…
And, just like that, my dream came true. It is magical moments like these that make it – Burning Man!
(Note: The sculpture is “Spread Eagle” by Bryan Tedrick.)