The Evolving World
Burning Man 2009
 
 
Thursday morning, I dreamed I was in a van surrounded by snow. My sister and my kids tapped at the window. She said she had something important to tell me. We went down alongside a highway to pick up trash…

I woke about 6 AM. I slept 9 hours? I must've been tired. I got up and went to the porta potties, passing Vee on the way—and leaving my toilet paper behind! Dang it. I brushed my teeth and made myself a cup of tea. It was a bright, sunny morning, with just a slight breeze.

P-nut joined me as I lounged in the bar with my tea. Cleaning up, he was surprised the coffee brewed at 10 AM Wednesday was still hot in the thermos. He had to get on the megaphone: “Twenty-five hours old and still hot!” The Giant Sandworm rolled by, its mouth open and hungry. Neither of us could remember Sting’s name in the movie “Dune.” (It was Feyd Rautha.) Someone brought a box of croissants for everyone, which was very welcome. P-Nut was delighted to find his Camelbak behind the bar. His friend Brenda left her glasses behind. We all hoped Maya would return.

A huge RV had arrived in the night and parked right behind the bar. I went to Pancake Playhouse and stood in line next to a girl having bike problems. A person in line asked his friend, “Are you entreating my tactus?” I got two pancakes then went through the short line to get a squirt of syrup. It really felt good to sit down in the shade with hot food. A girl sitting next to me perked up when she saw my plate. “Where’d you get syrup?” she asked as she ate the last of her pancake dry. “Too late,” she sighed.
I rode out towards the Man, stopping at art projects along the way. One was a huge pocket watch, another was a photo op sculpture series: there was a fish crawling out of water, then a reptile, then a furry animal, then a monkey, then an empty space for you to stand as the end point of evolution. I found a “mailbox” with postcards people could write messages on, which would be burned with the Temple. I took one and wrote “I love you, Mom!”

At the Man, jungle noises were playing on loudspeakers. I read some of the messages people had written on the support structure, like “Out on a limb is where the fruit is.” There were personal memorials, too. One guy wrote, “Christi, let this fire burn up some of your sorrow.” Someone left a big banner dedicated to a guy named Shavia Saravia (Jan. 27, 1970 – Dec. 12, 2008) with a long tribute, which ended with the words, “Don’t rest in peace—peace is for the dead soul—keep the wings unclipped! SOAR, BROTHER!”
 
I went out to the Man that morning because a Geocaching group was having a get-together there called Cache & Burn. I met a nice girl called Faith and a guy called Geospider, who proudly wore two gold-painted walnuts around his neck. One was for the first thousand caches he’d found, and the other was for the second thousand caches he’d found. You could say he really earned his nuts. They gave me a pendant and a special wrap to keep your neck cool. I told them about the box of stuff I left at the Nevada Shoe Tree, and they said they’d check it out. They were nice folks, and invited me to their camp for some bloody Mary’s. They said it was an A-frame near 7 O’Clock and K Street. I wanted to visit the Temple first, and said I’d catch them later.

The Temple was, as always, beautiful and heartbreaking. People wandered through, leaving notes, touching the memorials, or just holding each other. I climbed up to the top level. There were memorials to husbands, wives, children… and lots of memorials to lost pets. One man left a long confession written on a banister, hoping for forgiveness. “Stop being scared,” read one note written on the structure. Another sign read: “Don’t cry because it’s over—smile because it happened.” Someone wrote in bold letters: “Put your sins into the fire – the flame becomes forgiveness.”
 
I rode my bike across the playa, past the Hug Hut into the 7:30 portal. I passed Celestial Bodies and Octopia, turned down Genome Street, then down to 7 and K… and I didn’t see the Geocaching camp anywhere. My bike kept getting harder and harder to pedal, and by the time I arrived I was hot, thirsty and exhausted. Camps were sparse towards the outer streets. I didn’t even see people walking around. I felt flushed and dizzy. Just then, a guy on a bicycle rode by, holding out a frozen treat. “Want one?” he asked. “It’s not real blueberry, but hey.” The icy treat was cold and refreshing and probably saved my life.

My bike was squeaking loudly as I rode back towards the Esplanade. A fellow biker rode alongside, suggesting WD-40. I watched a parachutist glide and float gracefully down from the sky; it looked like he landed right in Center Camp. When I got back to my camp, I poured some water over my head to cool down. In the bar, I asked P-Nut for something cold and beery. We had beer on tap! Boy, that was good. Someone hooked their iPod to the stage speakers, playing the hits of the 1980’s. A lovely girl with curly blonde hair wearing a blue dress with a parasol danced to “Ring my Bell,” then slowly danced away down the street. A girl wearing a blue top and a purple bowler ran down the street past the bar. Billy came through with a bottle of water. A girl in a straw hat came through looking for a guy called Nomad. I couldn’t help her until she said, “He’s got a snail for an art car.” I knew which way to point her then.

I smelled… bacon! Anne was cooking up some bacon on a little stove. It was heavenly—the first bacon I’d had all week. I met a couple named Derek and Suzanne. They brought a cantaloupe, but didn’t have anything to serve it on, so I loaned them my blue plate. Even though it hurt my feet to ride my bicycle, I rode out to the Lost Penguin. I had a gift for a friend, but when I asked for her they said they didn’t have anyone camped by that name. The main guy even looked on his list of campers. I was very disappointed. On the way back, the batteries on my digital camera died. I went back to HOTD and got a rum drink and dropped off some of my homebrew at the bar.
 
I had the last bottle of my homebrew hard cider, which I named after my cat, so I took it over to the homebrew camp. That’s where I talked to a guy from Oregon named Tom. It was his first burn, even though he’d been to the Black Rock Desert before. He said there were deserts like that in the northwest, too. 

Camp Nomadia got refused placement when Burning Man announced camps and villages, so Pandora’s let them camp in their area. I got one of the last bottles of Wharrgarbl Beer and took it over to Serolynne and Redraven. They missed their kitten—he was staying with friends in Fallon. When I mentioned Lahontan, it turned out they’d camped there, too. They even remembered when: November 8, 2008, the day after the election they worked so hard on. It was really good to see them again. 

I took it easy back at camp for a while, resting my feet. I hoped they’d be healed enough for my Friday morning shift. Derek & Suzanne returned and shared some homemade ice cream. 

I sat by the side of the road, taking pictures of people passing by, but the shutter lag of the digital camera was really annoying. It was like they expected you to know 20 seconds ahead of time that a great picture was going to appear in front of you, and if you don’t get it, well, you’re a dumbass.

Sitting in the bar, I met a girl named Liz, a very nice brunette girl in a polka dot top. She was needing some aspirin, but was too far from her own camp to get her own. I also met a juggler named Garrett, and a girl named Tara from the Heebeejeebee camp. She was from Chicago, and highly recommended the Field Museum. She wondered if HOTD always played “such wonderful music.” The Joyism car rolled by.

 
I walked across the open playa over to the Raygun Rocket, which was open for visitors. There was a long line of people waiting to go inside. It was hot standing in line, so I had the idea for everyone to get some shade by standing in the shadow of the rocket. One young man showed off a temporary tattoo he had written on his chest with a permanent marker. It was supposed to say “big ass cool bus,” but to me it looked like it said something much ruder. He changed it. 
 
When I climbed up the ladder, I forgot I was wearing my Utilikilt. Someone back on the ground yelled up some critical comments. The interior of the rocket was awesome, full of retro 1950’s technology. There were racks of rayguns and cages with captured alien creatures (their eyes blinked!). There were three levels to the rocket, but I chose to not climb up to the pilot’s seat to help speed up the line. It was such a beautiful work of art. 
I exited from the second level and came back down the gantry. Back at HOTD, there was a wedding going on! The bar was set up for the potluck reception. I helped D-Mo put up a big heart decoration. It was KathyKat getting married, and there was a big crowd expected. I  knew there was going to be a rectption that evening, so on my way to the playa I stopped for some supplies. Back at my camp, I fired up my Coleman stove and cooked up some corn on the cob for the occasion. I served it on my blue camp plate and it seemed to be a hit. There was a lot of food but, by the time I went through the line, all I got to eat was three spoonfuls of spaghetti and some corn chips. The service itself was lovely, though, held just after sunset, surrounded by friends under the Full Moon. There was no wind at all.
 
I was tired, I needed to get up early and my feet were still terribly blistered, so I decided to turn in early. I got up once in the night, and spotted an airplane over the campsite, flying with no lights at all. I thought it was illegal to do that.
 
 
  
 
 
LINKS 
Camp Nomadia 
The Raygun Gothic Rocketship 
Lost Penguin 
Geocaching 
All original content copyright 2009 by Tim Frayser. If your image appears on this site, and you'd rather it didn't, drop me a line and I'll remove it. Pictures appearing on this website are for personal use and are not for sale. 
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Introduction  Day 1  Day 2  Day 3 
Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday 
Day 11  Day 12  Day 13  Day 14  Day 15  Epilogue