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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...


A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.

Julia's hat on the dash as we waited in the Exodus line

Monday we got up as early as we could and spent three or four hours striking and mooping our own camp area and loading up the van and the Uhaul with all our stuff. We said goodbye to all our remaining camp mates and then Mom, Josh and I caravanned together with Kathy and Anthony to the Exodus line. We were expecting it to take a long time to get out and at first we were happy and perky hanging out in line with our friends and other random folks around us, but after hours and hours and hours of that we got tired (like you do) and cranky. I spent time writing in my journal and listening to BMIR. We didn’t hit pavement until nearly 9pm, which meant that our traditional stop at the Black Bear Diner in Sparks was not going to work (they closed at 10). So we decided to go back to the GSR to get some food (casinos are open all night, after all) and maybe see some other Pinkies there. Once we got into cell range Mom called Dad and we called home and spent a nice long time (maybe an hour?) talking to our eldest (youngest had already gone to bed) about what had been going on for him in the first week of school, which was great.

We got to the GSR around 11 and changed clothes and wiped down in the restroom there and then promptly ran into Alex, Lionessa, MissyKat, Halcyon and Millie. We had a late dinner with Kathy and Anthony and Millie, and then eventually got back on the road around maybe 2am. We were all tired but especially Josh, who’d been driving most of the way. I took over from him for the last hour or so, and had to fight to stay awake, especially when we hit morning rush hour traffic around Vallejo. We got home just before 7am, and the kids were already up and about getting ready for school (though my poor Dad was asleep on the couch waiting for us to get home). It was so great to see the kids (and they were happy to see us too) but it was also great that they left to go to school and we could finally shower and fall into our own comfy bed for a couple hours.

Sunday we did indeed get up ridiculously early and jump right in to hours of camp teardown. I mooped and schlepped and helped write down the inventory of one of our two camp storage containers (which both got absolutely crammed with stuff in every smidge of space). I worked on that until mid-afternoon, after which Josh and I tried to consolidate and pack up as much of our own stuff as we could in preparation for leaving the next day.

The Temple burningAround 7:00 we got a few people together to head out to see the Temple burn. As I already mentioned, that burn was particularly lovely and meaningful, although I’d done much of my processing already. I was especially drawn to/impressed by the smoke angels (vortexes or tornados of smoke that formed at the fire and “marched” across the playa in a line until dissipating into the air). They started at the Temple and kept leaving it in a beautiful procession, one after the other. I also loved watching all the embers dance away up into the sky, billows and puffs and clouds of tiny glowing sparks all moving this way and that until they winked out. I was glad to feel the sense that all the grief and loss of the last year were puffing away so beautifully, and to put a ritual sense of closure on my year of living cancerously. I took out my letter to myself that I’d been carrying around and re-read it. Ryan, who was sitting next to me, asked if he could read it, so I let him, and then Josh asked to see it too, so I let him read it too. Really the whole thing was beautiful and satisfying. I would have stayed longer but at a certain point everyone else with me wanted to go so I just let that desire go along with everything else I had let go of that burn and went back home to Pink Heart, where almost everything was transformed also. Our fluffy pink home during the week was gone, all packed up, vanished like the beautiful temporary love dream it was; but our little silver yurt and shade patio were still there. (Hmm, are there metaphors here? Yes, probably, but I will let you imagine your own.)

[Da Vinci's Workshop Intro]

Supernova with a giant pickle during the Meats and Cheeses party at Pink HeartSaturday morning we slept in (me more than Josh, surprisingly), and then it was time for the Pink Heart Meats and Cheeses party, which we wound up hosting in our shade patio. In addition to the sharing of delicious meat and cheese-related food items (and those that go with them like pickles and fruit), there was a bunch of Pinkie fun and merriment. One particularly memorable highlight was our campmate Karpo dressed up in a hilarious “cock and balls” stretchy onesie costume, swinging the giant penis around. (Trust me, it was funnier than it sounds.) Like I said in the Intro, I really felt so much closer to and bonded with so many more Pink Hearters this year—we talk about being a “PHamily” but this was the first year I really felt it so strongly. It feels really good to be a part of such a loving, open, committed, conscious, positive group, even though each of us has our individual “warts” and issues, our moments of less-than-awesome, and our particular agendas that sometimes make connection more difficult. It also felt very harmonious in camp this year (at least to me, with full acknowledgement that I was not privy to all that went on and others’ experience might well have been different and possibly less positive). The only down side to all this PHamily love is that now I really miss everyone! I could have spent hours and hours and hours more making camp with and hanging out with and adventuring with other Pink Hearters. We are a pretty amazing crew of kind, silly, playful, raunchy, loving, caring individuals and an absolutely kickass collaborative team.

Biking across the playa to ReFoamationAfter Meats and Cheeses, there was a big group of Pinkies that wanted to go all the way over to the other side of the playa to visit the Dr. Bronner’s camp, where they gift a shower experience called “ReFoamation”. The idea was not only to go get clean (at this point I still had not taken a shower or done any more cleaning of myself than baby of the benefits of having short hair this year) but also to give away some more of the boxes and boxes of leftover Headspace cookies that Anthony had made (and which never got given away on Headspace because it broke down and didn’t voyage through the playa). I had heard of the Dr. Bronner’s experience in years past but never been. This year it sounded good to me and I wanted to go (Josh stayed behind), although I was also feeling a little shy and self-conscious about being naked around other people given how red and obvious my scars still are. Kathy told me that she was going to wear a bathing suit so I decided to wear one of my sports bras and a pair of bikini bottoms that Anjanette loaned me. I’m really glad I did go though because it turned out to be super fun and pleasurable (because clean!)

The line outside ReFoamationAnyway we all biked over there and got to skip the very long line because of the cookie gifting we had arranged, and go in as a group. (There were other people in the dome with us too, but we were a large enough group that we went through as a clump.) The shower experience went like this: first you walked in to a big covered dome with a cool tree-sculpture (with a face on it!) and a DJ spinning upbeat but mellow music, and we took our packs and clothes off and put them on the side of the dome. The floor was covered with perforated foam tiles with a tarp underneath, so you could walk comfortably around (and dance) with bare wet feet. One side of the dome was the showers—so after getting naked, you walked with your group of about twenty people up some stairs and into a clear plastic-enclosed area with a scaffolding above it. There were people up in the scaffolding with foam and water sprayers. Everyone gathered in a clump on one side of the enclosure and they explained to us that the goal was to not wash yourself and to not use your hands, and then they blasted us with a ton of fabulous thick peppermint-smelling soapy foam while we all shrieked and yelped and giggled and wiggled around. (I have to admit that right beforehand I had a brief twinge of Holocaust shower PTSD but it was so clearly not the same kind of setting and so happy and fun that I didn’t linger in that thought.) Then the group moved down the enclosure to the other side where they sprayed us down with water (and there was more yelping and giggling). After that we all walked out and down a set of steps back into the rest of the dome, where there were people painted and costumed to look like satyrs and dryads and other fae woodland creatures who offered you oils and lotions (and later on, after we Pinkies got into the act, cookies). I have to say it felt blissfully great to be clean and moist and moisturized in a cool shaded dust free space while also dancing around and appreciating all the different shapes and sizes of naked bodies happily coexisting. Anjanette said to me at one point “you know, this is exactly what people who don’t go to Burning Man think we do out here the entire time” (e.g. get naked and dance around in pagan rituals). Giving out cookies to clean naked happy people was really fun too. I loved the whole experience and I will definitely do it again next year (and hopefully this time with no clothes on). 

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