Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
I was no stranger to the Black Rock Desert. But now I was to experience my first Burning Man and live in Black Rock City for a week.
It was one of those dust storm days when you really couldn’t go anywhere to get out of it unless you went into your vehicle or out on the playa. So, I chose the playa. I got on my bicycle, fully intending to do some nude sun bathing. A luxury I seldom do and only in private. I had on a tank top, shorts and shoes with no underwear. Rode out on the playa, stripped, laid down and was enjoying just being out there listening to the silence, being happy about where I was and what I was doing.
I heard some noise above my head and sat up to see what it was. The wind surfer going by paid no attention to me as he was busy getting himself across the playa. As I sat there I looked between my feet and saw a man walking directly toward me. I thought, now what do I do? If I stand up he will see that I am naked. If I just sit here maybe he will just go by. But, he kept coming directly at me. So I crossed my legs to cover my private places and folded my arms to cover my breasts. He came right up to me and stood a safe distance away. We started to talk. His name was Zackary, 27 years old from Colorado. He was at BM with his girlfriend and a group of friends. I invited him to sit down. After a very short time I realized he was a little too far away from me to hear him clearly so I got up walked over to him and sat down. Yes, I was still naked as a Jay bird.
We got into a very deep conservation about our feelings. He felt no one listened to him. They didn’t take him seriously. He was always being challenged. I think I understood him because I was the same way. At my age this still happens. Even having the “courage” to go to BM was a big step for me. We cried together and I put my arms around him as he sobbed on my shoulder.
I asked him why he walked up to me. “I don’t know. Something just drew me to you.” He told me he works with problem youngsters. He looks forward to the day he can have his own outdoor training center for young people with issues.
I shared some of my lesbian life, loves, and my professional journey in the corporate world. When I told him I was going to be 68 next month he said “Well, for someone who is almost 70, you’re looking pretty good”. I aged two years and got a compliment in the same sentence.
We stood up, embraced tightly, wished each other well and he walked away. I sat down to reflect on what has just happened. Perhaps we were able to talk to each other on such a revealing level because we knew would never see each other again. I just hope he got as much out of it as I did.
Where else but at Burning Man? This is just one of the many times this week when you knew Black Rock City held something special for any one of us 41,000 people living in a giving community.