59 Days and Counting

July 6, 2011

Click below for Parts 1-3 of my  Burning Man essay:

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

*          *          *          *          *

Whenever I met someone or was introduced to friends of Justin, I was greeted with the phrase, “Welcome Home” accompanied by a comforting hug.  Not the type of tap-tap hug in which there is still space between you, but the tight kind that leaves no room for air and makes you feel loved, wanted, accepted.

What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

As a virgin burner, I was extracted from the rental car, hugged with a forceful acceptance and handed a long metal rod, like the lead pipe from Clue, only life-like and heavier than you think and told to clang a bell, almost two feet in length and hanging from what looked like a miniature swing set.  This, of course, was after I succumbed to the playa.

I was slowly weaving the car through the cone-lined path towards the entrance, listening as Justin read the poetic quote signs bordering the far right lane.  It took nearly an hour before finally reaching the gate-greeter.

“Howdy, folks! Welcome home.”

A shirtless man in a sarong and mad-hatter style hat rested his arms along the rolled down, driver’s side window of our rental car.  He was covered in such a thick film of dirty white playa dust that the original color of his clothing was no longer discernable.

“This your first time?”

Justin leaned over from the passenger side telling him it was his second year, but my first.

“Well, in that case . . . .”

He pulled open my door, motioning me out.  Justin had hinted there would be something all virgin burners would need to do at the gate, but didn’t get into specifics.  The greeter gave me a short infomercial on how the playa dust was going to get in and on everything and that I might as well pay homage to its omnipresence.   I dived to the ground, rolling around on the hard lake bed like a dog let outside on the first spring day, came to a stop on my back and made a playa angel in the dust.

*          *          *          *          *

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5 Responses to “59 Days and Counting”


  1. […] 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part […]


  2. […] 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part […]


  3. It’s almost time to extract the supplies from my attic!


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