BURNING MAN, Black Rock City, Nevada "Whiteout!" someone bellows. I scan the horizon, hills drizzled in desert sunshine, then swivel my head: Static fills the screen.
Dust curtains the camp, ripping loose tents and small adults. Eyes disappear behind goggles, masks swathe pouting mouths. Pale chalk creeps up nostrils, down zippers, into DNA.
Roaraxer Reid strums his mandolin. "Told you Songs of Freedom works in any medium," he insists.
"Let's go for I walk," I reply, Lil' Miss Sequitur 2008.
"Yes. I want to see what it's like out there."
Miraculously, he agrees. We slip into the storm. The lamplighters shuffle the spoke streets, but few others. On the playa, some dance in the murk, others play a wild game of tag, jaded souls sip warm sake and trade stale bondage innuendo. Burning Man unfolds for us alone ... or rather for a handful of moonwalkers.
Maybe it's the allure of apocalypse for a Cold War baby (we were, after all, taught to "duck and roll" under furniture to ward off Russkie bombs). Or the barbaric thrill of the extreme. The Hobbsian gogogooooo.
Whatever the source, I caught a pulse of that magnetic north today, the absolute compass bearing that leads people to call this place "home".
And in an era of wildly spinning dials, that's anchor enough.