Posts in golden spike

July 31st, 2013  |  Filed under Building BRC, Photos/Videos/Media

The Desert Is Spiked

Coyote called people over to begin the ceremonies

Coyote called people over to begin the ceremonies

And so it begins again.

There was a howling wind on the Black Rock Desert on Sunday, and there had been driving rain the night before in Gerlach. But now the sun was blazing and the sky was magnificent as about 75 people gathered to drive the Golden Spike into the desert floor, the first official act of Burning Man.

It doesn’t just happen, you know. Many things must come together, many sacrifices must be made, for Black Rock City to rise. Jobs must be quit, leavings must be taken, and sweat will coat many faces before the festivities begin.

But this, this vast empty timeless place, this is what draws us first. This is the blank canvas. This is where it starts.

Like so many things about Burning Man, it wasn’t always like this. The desert is the only thing that hasn’t changed. Everything else has grown, become more ornate, become layered in ritual and remembrance. The first time a spike was put in the ground to mark the place where the Man would be built, there were only four people around. But now there were words to be said and liquor to be shared. There was a consciousness and intention about the work that was about to start, and the moments did not go unremarked on.

“Are we back here already?” Crimson Rose asked. “Did we ever leave?”

As the years seem to hurtle one into the next, it seemed indeed like we had never left. But again, just as there is sameness, there is difference, too. Last year there heavy hearts, the weight of sadness and loss everywhere. But this year, you could sense acceptance. Time has passed. Distance has been gained. Perspective, and maybe some wisdom, has been achieved.

Miss Stress gave the spike a mighty whack

Miss Stress gave the spike a mighty whack

“You are my friends 365 days a year,” Makeout Queen proclaimed as she held the sledgehammer above her head.

And even though there were laughs and hijinx, there was also a somber gratefulness that those who were out here had made it through another year. “I want to thank you all for staying alive,” someone said. “This year I dedicate this to the people who are here.”

And with that another hammer blow drove the stake a little deeper into the ground. One by one, people stepped up and said what they had to say. Some people were profound, some were sad, some were funny. But everyone seemed to respect the moment, and they were grateful. “I’ve been here a month,” Miss Stress said, “and I still look like this,” she said, pointing to her hugely smiling face.

But pretty soon it was all done.

The blank canvas

The blank canvas

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July 31st, 2012  |  Filed under Building BRC

The Golden Spike

“Just be awesome.”

We thought we’d seen the beginning of Burning Man before, but we didn’t  know until Monday that we really hadn’t.

This will be the fifth year that we’ll be out there as miles and miles of fence get put up in a day, and we’ve always associated the fence with the beginning of the Burning Man year.  But we’ve been wrong.

Coyote, aka Tony Perez, has been teasing us for at least a couple of years about fence day. “Don’t all those pictures look pretty much the same as last year?” he’d ask. And the answer has always been yes, of course, they’re the same as last year. Only different. Just like the event itself. It’s the same, but different. Different people, different feel, but still the same.

So we accepted his invitation to come up and see what the survey team does before the fence crew arrives, and we weren’t really prepared for the experience. Read more »