Aug 30, 2008

BEDTIME STORY

BURNING MAN, Nevada – A million tales unfold on the playa.

This is ours tonight...

The Roarax Rounge art car, all umbrella spokes and bobbling illuminated globes, sputters. It bucks, shoots backward 20 feet – Grant super-heroes from its path – doglegs, then horribly jackknifes in the silt and conks out.

But it's Burning Man, baby, so we crank the funk and everyone dances with the night's dust devils. Strangers blunder up, tripping on the lights. Some press their foreheads to a single bulb, then sway with it in the gale.

"Push, we're gonna have to push it back to camp!" the cry rises.

At least 30 bystanders bleed into the night.

Bummer.

Less than a dozen remain, but with a hand each, the vehicle sails over the pitted desert, golf-cart engine straining. Reba leans over the wheel, all Tank Girl intent.

I didn't dream this project, didn't wire the hallucinatory LEDs nor milk the generator back to life with spit, gum foil and MacGyver genius. But I still lean into the Black Rock wind, pushing the car, then a bike.

And this moment of clear purpose – amid cyclones of sand and chic– hangs bright as a harvest moon. It glows long after the Serpent Mother flame-sculpture sputters quiet. Even after we lump our car-cass home, then bike out and sit near the Opulent Temple, too exhausted to dance, but riveted by a double-decker art bus: a giant mohawked rubber duckie with laser beam eyes.

We are small in the shadows, blended into the crowd, the dirt even.

But this story remains ours alone.

2 comments:

  1. Berner6:55 PM

    The Flaming Lotus Girls are the bomb!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The fire-breathing sculptures are exquisite, I agree. Not just the look, but the sound, the heat...

    ReplyDelete