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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.
Tags >> handpan

handpan at sunriseMonday 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 out to the open playa, and played a sunrise set. A few people came out from both Pink Heart and Red Lightning and joined me, and watched the sun rise over what was left of the playa art. I’m so glad I did that—it was good personal closure to able to say goodbye to the playa and my experiences that week through making music. 

After the sun was mostly up I went back and Josh and I began the unpleasant process of packing and disassembling and loading our personal stuff. I was tired and cranky and had to keep saying goodbye to people who were leaving, plus there got to be a bunch of things that other people had apparently abandoned that we had to help figure out how to take care of that made me even more irritable. (And as it would later turn out, apparently I was also in the throes of PMS, which I certainly had not been expecting...I got my period for the first time in 19 months the next day.)  But Josh tetris-ed (yes that’s a verb) both the truck and the van like a boss, and we eventually got everything loaded and finally left the truck with Anji and drove the van out to leave Black Rock City by around 1pm. Amazingly enough there was virtually no wait or line at the Gate until the very last part where everyone had to merge down into two lanes (we made it completely off playa in about two hours, which is probably the best Exodus ever).

Pinkies at the Silver Legacy in RenoIt was a fairly slow slog once we hit blacktop, with some spectacular clouds and rain squalls along the way between Gerlach and Empire (we were soooo grateful not to have been trapped in the line to get out by that rain, though I’m not sure if it ever even made it to playa). We got ahead of the rain and wind and stopped off in Nixon to get rid of our trash bags, where the weather caught up to us just as we were leaving. We did see some beautiful rainbows though. We made it to Reno by around 6pm if I recall correctly, and checked in to the Silver Legacy. It was really great to be able to take a break there and not have to drive all the way home. We called our kids and took that blissful first shower and dressed in clean soft clothes and went down to the lobby to meet up with a bunch of other Pinkies (including Doug and Elena, who hadn’t been to the burn but who came to Reno just to hang out with other Pinkies) who were also staying at the Silver Legacy. We hung out in one of the casino bars for a while and then there was a big group dinner at P.F. Chang’s, which I enjoyed the heck out of, especially since we really hadn’t eaten much that day.

Supernova playing handpan at the ManBecause 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 handpan and go play with the gongs at the Man base and see what serendipitous interactions came my way. I had a lovely couple of hours there people-watching, playing handpan and talking to people (and letting people try my handpan). It was fun and a bit frustrating trying to listen to and play along with the gongs (which were apparently programmed but in a fairly chaotic, random pattern that went from soft to loud and back again). In yet another example of playa magic, I was sitting there thinking “gosh I wish I had a picture of me doing this so I’d remember it later” when someone came by with a Polaroid camera and gifted me with a photo. A little later on another lovely soul named Jason wandered by and stopped to check out the handpan and talk to me, and he turned out to be a photographer with lots of equipment so he took some photos and video of me playing (though I was feeling kind of nervous and on the spot so I don’t know how well they came out, but I don’t care.)

Pinkies biking across the playaAfter a couple of hours I had to leave and head back to camp because there was a group of campmates planning to bike across the playa to TransFOAMnation (this was the Dr. Bronner’s foam shower camp that I’d had such a good experience at last year, when it was called ReFOAMation—they change the theme every year) and hand out cookies. I also brought a couple hundred Pink Heart wooden necklaces to gift (we had so many, and it was clear that we would not go through them all just by passively leaving them on the Gifting Wall). I definitely didn’t want to miss the trip to TransFOAMnation, both because it’s such an awesome experience in and of itself to be dancing around with friends and strangers all clean and naked, and because it represented a kind of personal radical ritual to me to try appearing naked in public in all my modified, scarred-up glory. (This year I was determined to go through the whole experience naked, unlike the year before, when my reconstruction surgery scars were still quite fresh and I was feeling kind of shy about being naked in front of friends and strangers so I wore a two piece bathing suit.)

Supernova in the True Reflections PalaceWhen we got there we once again got to skip the very long line and go straight in in a Pink Heart clump, and I took a deep breath and stripped down and climbed up the steps and got foamy with my PHamily. And you know what? It was great. Even possibly greater than last year. I really reveled in the feeling of being clean and naked and dancing around with a bunch of other clean, naked, happy people. I had fun connecting with people and giving out necklaces and love (I let other people give out the cookies). I didn’t feel self-conscious or have any negative body-image moments at all. I sort of expected that I might get comments (from PHamily if not from strangers) about my scars but no one said anything, and although in some small way that was weird (because this big important thing had happened to me was not acknowledged), it mostly felt great to have an experience where I felt “normalized” in my body again.

En-KiWednesday morning started off pretty mellow, though I still woke up early (at least I once again scored on a clean-ish potty). I stopped off and saw a few bits of nearby art on my way to and from the potty, and then wound up sitting in the Pink Swing with Anji for a little while to talk to her about some of the things going on in her burn. While we were there we saw a really amazingly all lime-green and black costumed guy trudging by, looking like he was on his way home from a crazy night out, and called him over so we could look at his costume more closely. He told us he was “En-Ki” (a Sumerian god), and he really made me want to up my costume game!

Anji and I decided we wanted to go to the Temple, so I went back to the yurt to change and grab my stuff and see if Josh wanted to go (he didn’t). Melanie joined us though, and we biked out to the Temple together and then split up when we got there.

Writing at the TempleI spent some time thinking about Josh’s dad and his imminent physical transition, and wrote him a little note on the Temple wishing him ease and grace during it. I also took off the embroidery floss bracelet that I’d been wearing since Gaming Camp started earlier in the summer and tied it to one of the wooden hearts that Anji had had someone make (they said “YOU ARE LOVED”) and bring to the Temple for people to use for their own messages. I wrote myself a couple little encouraging messages on the heart: “you are enough/self care comes first” (which is one of the big lessons that working—and breaking down—at Gaming Camp had reinforced for me) and “thanks past me for taking care of future me...I love you!” (which has also been a kind of ongoing theme for me this year). I didn’t drop down too deep into reflection because I knew my time there was limited—I had my Handpan Jam gig at Center Camp to get to by 10:30. So I left Anji there and biked back with Mel to Pink Heart to collect Josh and my handpan.

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