Staring at the Sun: Excerpt from the Burning Man Book

This excerpt is from a Burning Man Book that Sidney Smith and I created. Below recounts our Wednesday morning from Burning Man 2013:

A heart glows in the sky and a colourful Robot glows next to it. We pedal towards over a thousand bouncing bodies on a desert in space. We park our bikes amongst the others, lock them up and run into the place we’ve been looking for. The music enters through our ears and slides past the drums, creeps into and envelops our minds, pours down our neck and floods our heart, caressing it in robotic sounds, symbiotic with our biology, we are cyborgs: plugged into these electronic noises to power our legs, our hips, our knees, our feet, all our extremities. The sounds blast and the bass thumps, and every once in a while, we thrust and we jump. We grind and we move, we shift and we slide, and it’s all, ALL about the groove. We fly with capes, steer with driving gloves, bob with top hats, and see with hearts in and on our eyes. Extrapolate the four of us to include the thousands more, and the variety, the creativity, the energy, the expression is a sight to behold, and with everything we do, there is no reason to withhold. And, that’s what this is: the unleashing of all of your feelings, and everyone doing it all at once. We are in heaven. This is paradise. Mmmmm the sounds making our bodies move. Feel it inside: so, so alive. Night contemplates her retirement and a ray of light casts a warming orange on the only cloud in the sky. And that same warming orange fills all the dancers’ eyes, and we all sense our impending rebirth; the one from the earth that happens each and every morning, so often taken for granted, but not this time, not this morning. Damian Lazarus, the DJ of the heavens, sees this lonely glimmering ray of sunlight and decides to encourage the ray’s counterparts to come out and play, to come out and say, “hey, now that night’s over, let’s dance all day!” Transitioning out of a groovy song with a more traditional pattern and time, Damian starts playing sounds that don’t seem to have reason or rhyme. But wow, are they beautiful. Massively powerful and uplifting sounds, reminiscent of church organs, blaring: wow, do they resound! The air is full of euphoric AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH       DDDDDDOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGG and with each new element Damian adds, another ray of sunlight wraps his fingers around the ledge of the horizon and pulls himself into the sky, exposing him and shrinking the pupils in our eyes. Until the upper crest of the sun starts taking shape, peeking its head above the horizon like a child over a tabletop—chin still tucked away, but we know it’ll breakthrough sometime, some day. Damian builds and builds and the elation from all who are there condensates and rises into the sky, forming happy clouds of joy above us and then rains down into our mind’s eye. A few people turn away from the Robot Heart bus and point their attention at the sun starting to climb higher and higher. And, they get down on their knees, and then more people do the same. Within seconds and without any instruction, all two thousand people are down on their knees and staring at the sun. Many of us wearing sunglasses provided by our hosts, those who aren’t look like they’re crying the most. But, I can tell you, when I look around, everyone is covered in goosebumps, and not one person wearing a frown. Half the people’s eyes flow with tears, you’ve never seen anything like this in infinite years. There is no fear. Here, it is only love. And, we are so free. Damian adds more sound, more uplift, more joy; we add more tears, more breaths, more heartbeats, more smiles; the sun and his rays add more warmth and more light as we all say goodbye to the other stars and mother night . . . . . . . . . . .


And after minutes of eternity, the child’s chin exposes itself above the tabletop and he’s tall enough to cast his light over all: the sun BURSTS above the horizon and Damian DROPS the NASTIEST sounding shit to ever hit a person’s ear drum. The dance floor ERUPTS as people EXPLODE from their knees and joyous pandemonium ensues! SCREAMS, HUGS, WILD WILD WILD PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION. ELATED, JOYOUS, RAW, UNADULTERATED ANIMALISM. WE ARE FREE AND WE HAVE EXISTED FOREVER. And, we will continue to do so. And, no dance floor has ever seen anything like this before. No moment in time resembles this one.


And that . . . . . that is why you ignore your elders and stare at the sun.