Burning Man- Home Edition

It will be no shock to you that once again, due to Covid, we have had to reexamine our travel plans. We are fortunate to be healthy in the middle of a pandemic, and we get that we are privileged to even blog about our lament towards not being able to travel, but it sucks, nonetheless.

Gerry and I have planned to attend Burning Man for a few years now, and 2020 was to be the year we ventured to the Black Rock Desert, in hopes of a life changing event. As things began to unwind in early March, we knew that most of our plans for the year were in jeopardy, and we have slowly begun to pull the plug on trips about a month prior to each deadline, in hopes, that by some miracle, Covid would be finito, but so far, no luck.  Seeing that Burning Man is an event of renewal, renaissance, and cleansing, we thought it would be appropriate, to continue our plans to celebrate “burn night” at home, rather than scratch it all together.

If you are unfamiliar with Burning Man, you should know that it has been going on for 34 years, and was created by some friends in San Francisco, who got together to burn a wooden man on Baker Beach on the 1986 Summer Solstice. In 1998, the event moved to the desert in Northwestern Nevada, and is held there each year, the week prior to Labor Day. It’s an event that celebrates community, art, freedom of expression, self-love, and self-reliance for survival, as well as those around you. You bring everything you need, as no vendors are allowed at Burning Man. If you run out of something, or forgot it, you make friends with those around you. Everyone helps each other, building a counter-consumerism culture, if just for a week, everyone is in the mindset of gifting and aiding each other to get through the harsh environment of sweltering hot days, and freezing cold nights. It’s sort of camping meets Mad Max.

Our handmade Burning Man effigy

Burn Night, which is the Saturday before Labor Day, is a night where a large wooden man is burned to the ground. This is a ritual that promotes a sense of cleansing, letting go, burning the bridges in your past- whatever you want it to be. It has been said by some that Burning Man changed them in a way that they never thought it could- not in a religious sense, but spiritually. Many said that once they leave the experience, they learn how to be more present, more empathetic, and just to feel more in their lives.  

So, since we were unable to be in the termporary city in the middle of the Nevada desert, we opted to take part, virtually, with the burn community, creating our own Burning Man effigy, and having a burn in our backyard. We truly could not think of a more appropriate time for renewal and cleansing, than this part of 2020, where frankly, the year thus far has been a real shitshow.

Myself (Shannon), Gerry, and Betty White, sat around our firepit in the backyard, and burned the man. We discussed the things that we wanted to put behind us, and verbalized our being grateful to be where we are in our lives. It seemed appropriate for an evening where we could have wallowed more in our sadness of being unable to travel and visit places we had planned on having new adventures. We have chosen to believe that Covid won’t ruin our adventures, they have just had a change of scenery.

Perhaps our favorite aspect of Burning Man, is the principle of “leaving no trace”- meaning, everyone cleans up after themselves, so the area where the event is usually held, looks as if nothing ever happened. How many festivals do you know where that occurs? None. To learn more about the 10 Principles of Burning Man, visit this link. In true burn tradition, once our fire had burned to ashes, we cleaned up, came inside, and left the backyard in pristine condition. Yep, you can now call us true burners. 😊 2021 Burning Man, here we come!

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