Even though it was only a weekend long, Xara was truly an amazing experience. I do not think I could have been happier with the time that I was able to share with my Playa Family, or how wonderful it felt to bring someone else into the community who had never experienced it before. There is no way to explain how connected I feel to them, individually and as a beautiful collective whole. Burning Man was my introduction to this fascinating way of looking at the world and living. Xara was where I realized that this is a community that I want to really BE a part of. These events come together and become what they are though a labor of love, and it pulses through each EL wire, tapestry, and temporary wall. I can't wait to find my role in helping to sustain it, because I could not live with watching such a beautiful piece of this world away because I was a spectator. I've never felt so connected to a group of people, or so passionate about being part of a community. I've never felt like I had something that I needed to bring something to the next generation before, probably because I've never seen people come together this way before.
While there are so many things that I want to describe in detail, I think that one experience really summed up what the event was for me. I was sitting with some people on a couch, fashioned from fancifully decorated air mattresses, and watching the crowd. I was talking to a man next to me, and I told him that I had lost my friends. He put his arm around me and gave me a big hug and said, "Don't worry, these are all your friends. These are all just old, old friends." It was a phrase I had heard several times before within this community, from pho0ka first, to whom I am eternally grateful for showing me what life can be like. I looked around at the unusual scene, filled with strange lights and colors and textures and people dancing, lounging, and laughing. I didn't really think much of it at the time.
But I look back now, and think about what he said, and I know that he was right. And it makes my heart so full that I want to cry.
I've been wondering for a long time where home is. Home is where these people are. The walls and ceiling keep changing, and sometimes so do the faces, but among these people, I am home. There are some within the community who seem to dislike the fact that Burning Man is no longer a tiny event, but all I can feel is excitement at the momentum with which this idea of community and radical self expression is moving. People all over the country and the world have been latching onto this idea, and from ticket sales it only seems to be getting stronger. I cannot what to see what happens next.