August 11th, 2004

-leaving no trace-

this is a little spiel i wrote after returning to my other home at the close of bm03. i thought it might be worthwhile dragging it out again.


Leaving home is a chore for me. I know I'm going to be away for a while but I know I'm going to be coming back and so, I make an effort to clean up before I leave so that my return is that little bit easier. Even so, it's still a sucky job, something which I resent a little and definitely something which isn't the most fun. Instead of picking up crap off my floor, I could be on the road with that long drive that's ahead of us.

2002 was my first burn. Like a good virgin, I read and re-read my Survival Guide, made contact with experienced burners and researched thoroughly. I hit Black Rock City able to recite all the mantras - "no spectators" "if it wasn't in your body...", "leave no trace", etc. I was quite content to abide by these 'rules' too, they make decent sense.

Now I'm not really that much of an environmentalist, but I could see the rationale behind the "leave no trace". There's also the simple fact that if Black Rock City fails to disappear off the playa, the Bureau of Land Management won't give the go-ahead for another year at that location. Black Rock City is still physically located within the state of Nevada, USA, and the laws of that land still fly ... more or less.

Since that burn however, the 'leave no trace' mentality propagated in my mind/body/life. I got to thinking about humanity's right to leave our footprint on our planet. We are the animal who's lifestyle by-products most impact upon all other life we share this home with. And what right do we have to do this? Well, not much that I can see.

My housemate, in a former life as a checkout chick, used to remind her customers that their plastic bags are going to last a lot longer than they ever will. Are we such an important species that we need to litter the world with evidence of our existence for near on eternity?

Black Rock City is a 'Temporary Autonomous Zone', a place where incredible things happen and then disappear with no evidence of them ever having been, only to reappear some when/who/where -else. I think that we should be this too. We should have no need to insist that these wondrous things that we create continue to exist longer than their lives do.

Leaving Black Rock City is hard for everybody. Who wants to leave that place where we really believe we've finally found home? Not me, for one. But, it is the third largest city in Nevada only for a week. It is a physically temporary city. The rest of the year, it is the Black Rock Desert, home to the few hundred people that live in the Gerlach area and the myriad of animals and plants - large to microscopic. Willingly or otherwise, they allow us to create our home on top of theirs - we are firstly, their guests.

The tiny scorpions that live in the cracks of playa have no use for a lost bolt. The eagles that circle in the thermals above aren't hunting pistachio shells. The bacteria in the dust can't synthesize detergent molecules.

The task of returning their home back to them as we found it is not an easy one, and I strongly suspect not one that we fully achieve. No matter what, 30,000 people make a long-lasting impact. But we _can_ minimise it.

Spending a number of hours walking back and forth across our campsite on Monday was frustrating. My friends who make up such a beautiful city have taken the long road off the playa, and yet I find flakes of tinsel or cigarette butts or full garbage bags or bicycles. Arrgh, my friends, you're still here, but where are you? Yeah, that tinsel probably _is_ going to blow so far away that the BLM won't find it when they check the state of the playa in six months time. But it's also probably not going to find it's way into the garbage (to be promptly put into landfill, but that's a different story). That piss you took on the playa because the potties were so far away may well be absorbed into the surface quickly, but those minerals are going to stick around for longer.

When the old boy burns, the exodus begins. Burning Man doesn't end then, it just dissipates to the four corners of the globe. The Burning Man has left the building. Our city's people go away for a while and we return what we've borrowed to those that cannot leave.

Leaving home _is_ a chore, one of those things that just has to get done, just like the dishes. Not only are we asked to clean up our own camp, but we're all also requested to spend at least two hours cleaning elsewhere too. We are still citizens of Black Rock City even when the city is leaving. We still have responsibility to the rest of her citizens - our neighbours, our friends, and we certainly have responsibility to our hosts.

Please, I ask you to try to leave no trace. I'll love you forever even without some _thing_ to remember you by. The playa is a figment of your imagination and you can live at home for the rest of your life.
  • Current Music
    Groove soundtrack
ghosts i-iv

(no subject)

Hopefully someone will understand this. . . I am having problems coping with Burning Man. I'm a virgin oft mistaken for a non-virgin. While I know BRC is like nothing I've ever seen before, I have had vaguely similar sensory-overload ego-destruction experiences at other types of gatherings, so I feel I am more prepared than most virgins. Or perhaps it makes me less prepared, I don't know.

I am scared. The totality of Burning Man overwhelms me. You know the Vault of Heaven newsletter sent out to all ticketed Burners? It's still in my mailbox, because every time I try to take it out and look at it, I start to shake and freak out. Too many people, too many things to do. . . sensory overload to the max, and I don't know how to cope, and I'm not even there yet. At this point I feel like I'm forcing myself to go so I don't have to tell the story about how I chickened out of my first year.

How did you cope with your first year on the playa? How do you deal with knowing that you will experience so f%#@ing much, and yet it will only be a fraction of what there is to experience? How do you handle the sensory overload without just. . . freaking out? I need some perspective.
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    nervous nervous
alert, fascinated, aware, enthusiastic

stressing about burningman?

I've spoken to a number of people and been reading a lot of post lately about how intimidating burningman is. As a three year vet, I felt that it would be a nice idea to post some advice for the fledgling burner. Now, ymmv and obviously this is just one persons opinion so if you are nervous or intimidated, please spend a little time talking to people you trust about your concerns. It's going to be a great burn this year. The whiteouts should be fabulous.

Now, on to the advice.

Leave your expectations at home:

no, really, burningman isn't always a mind altering/ life altering experience - my second year was actually quiet and vaguely frustrating/disappointing for various reasons - if you expect things you will oft be disappointed, so try not to expect things

Everyone experiences their own burn:

Radical Self Expression, Radical Self Sufficiency. You define what you will and will not do, it is always your decision as to what you choose to take part in. I know people who have been bored and/or didn't get it and went home early from burningman - these people chose to spend most of their time in camp, under shade during the day, and huddled under a blanket in their tent alone at night though, so really, they chose their own experience, my point is, you are in control.

it's really just a big camping trip:

no, really, let go your expectations, let go your concerns - just bring the basics for camping, bring a good warm coat, sunscreen and water, and go walk around and say hi. drink your water, eat when you're hungry, sleep when you are tired and above all...

just be you and see what happens
  • Current Mood
alert, fascinated, aware, enthusiastic


okay, i admit it, i love karaoke


I understand that a camp called THE LOVE PROJECT will be doing karaoke for three nights, but i don't know if this is true...

So share the karaoke love people, anyone know of any camps hosting karaoke - I can't do it this year, i don't have the budget for a generator - next year though... :)
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hat, hatter
  • todfox

LJ Party Time (we're on)

Stardust Covered Livejournal Party!!

Dock your mutant shuttles and two-wheeled starships at the Infinite Oasis Village, where you can meet fellow Black Rock Livejournal Addicts at the Wonderlounge for an evenings' debauchery. Bring Food, Drink, or Whatever you want to share. Users of other online journals and blogs are also welcome! If desired, the orbit of the party can break off to join other events -- after all, as proven by the recent Democratic Convention, without bloggers to report how will we know they happened at all?

Stardust Covered Livejournal Party
Wednesday, September 1st
Around Sundown (7:30-ish?)
Wonderlounge at Infinite Oasis Village
4:30 & Earth
Black Rock City

Bartenders: Delia & marrilee
Party Host: todfox

BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything)
Don't leave MOOP behind
Tell your friends
Have fun!
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    amused amused