Three weeks after returning from Burning Man, the alternator on the Cavalier died and needed to be replaced. It had to go back to the shop again. I guess I just pushed that poor little car more than it had ever been pushed. 
 
I may have also pushed myself too hard. 

The coil pack might have lasted long enough to get me home, but I would've been a nervous wreck every mile of the way. Driving the last leg of my trip, down that long, straight road through Kansas, I felt disillusioned, sad, depressed, disappointed, lonely… drained of everything I had in me. Going too long without a decent night's sleep can do that to you. I had left on my trip with an attitude that I had all my bases covered, but my plans got knocked for a loop. It was like the Gods of Travel had just decided to yank my chain. 
 
If life had a “safe word,” I would have called it a long time back. 

Burning Man does a census every year to get an idea of the demographics of participants. One of the questions that year was What lesson have you learned from coming to Burning Man? I thought about it for a while, and then replied: Prepare for everything, expect nothing. That pretty much sums up my journey that year. I had gone to Burning Man prepared to help people, but I had not expected to be the person that needed help.

At the Ranger social, Ranger Judas asked me, "Did you have a good burn?" That's a complicated question. I heard some wonderful music, met some amazing people, and saw some unbelievable things. On the other hand, this was certainly the most exhausting, stressful, and expensive trips I'd ever taken to Burning Man. In past years, I'd already have my next trip all planned out in my head before I was halfway home. At the end of 2010, months after returning from the playa, I still didn't know how I'd get there again. I'd always told myself that if you learn something from a negative experience, you turn it into a positive experience, but I did not know what my lessons were supposed to be. The life lessons I learned had not yet manifested themselves.
 
--And yet, when do life's lessons ever really manifest themselves... except when you need them?

 
 
Prologue Aug. 26  Aug. 27 Aug. 28 Aug. 29
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
The Long Road Home  Epilogue
Original content (c)opyright 2010 by Tim Frayser
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