Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
So, are you back? Are you all the way back?
Our guess is, probably not. Because it’s more than likely that you’ll never come all the way back from Burning Man. Things happen out there that tend to change you profoundly. … We don’t want to get overly cheesy or preachy on the subject, but if you had the kind of experiences that routinely happen out there in Black Rock, then it’s likely that the way you see things, and the way you see yourself, and the way you let yourself be seen, have changed.
Who knew you could be so spontaneous? Who knew you liked to dance so much? Who knew you could talk to so many new people? Who knew that all the gifting and openness and joy could have touched you the way it did? Who knew that you’d be so moved by simple but repeated acts of kindness?
Welcome to the post-playa club, you Burner you.
Here’s a prediction: There are going to be subtle but persistent reminders of the desert popping up when you least expect them. They’ll be as mundane as getting a whiff of the playa when you turn on the heater in the car. And they’ll be as meaningful as when you remember what you were like when you were being your best self out there.
So no, coming all the way back from Burning Man may not be possible.
But still, you’re back. You are back in your world, your job, your life. You have your “responsibilities.” But maybe you have a slightly different way of looking at things.
So this is about what you might have learned out there, and what you can take back with you, and maybe what you’ll bring next time. You learned a thing or two, and again, they ranged from the mundane to the … well, we shy away from words like “profound,” but maybe you learned some more significant things, too.
For example, we learned (or were reminded) that peanut butter has remarkably powerful restorative properties.
Many of you eat far far better than we do. This is not news: Food is sustenance to us. We recognize and enjoy good food, but our world does not revolve around growing our own produce, making our own pasta, or inventing things in the kitchen with whatever happens to be on hand (because honestly, there is very rarely anything on hand.) These are not things we are necessarily proud of.
But out there … out there … my goodness. Grilled elk? Why, that’s very good, thank you. Barbecued eggplant with grilled garden-gown tomatoes? Delicious. And this doesn’t fall in the category of haute cuisine, but being handed a slice of pizza when you are tired and hot and hungry and ornery … well, that combines kindness with culinary art, and it is a fine thing. So thank you for that, mysterious but kind person.
In short, we were reminded, or remembered, that we might be missing out on something. And this is both a small lesson, and a large one. Read more »