Journey to Burning Man with Mom

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu


Our Arrival Sunday


I do not know where to start. How to describe our journey? Do I tell the stories that happened? Day by day? Step by step? Do I talk about how it changed our friendship? Solidified it. Do I write a poem about my feelings? Or a diary entry? The reason I have not written about my experience with Mom is because you cannot. It’s ineffable. That which cannot be expressed in words.


Late Tuesday night, while having tea with Shrine at the 12:00 apex of the trash fence, Mom took a long look at the menagerie of the city. She gazed from 2:00 to 10:00, taking it all in, and said, “You cannot take a picture of this. You just need to experience it.” That statement encapsulated exactly how I feel. Our experience is difficult to write about. It is a visceral experience. It is the definition of ineffable. And yet, I will try.


I started with so many trepidations and expectations. I wanted Mom to have a great time. The getting there is part of the journey. 6 hours from Fallon to the Will Call line. 5 hours in the Will Call line. 11 hours on Sunday to get just outside our camp. It was dark. I was not going to try and bring the rig in under those conditions. And we were both exhausted and frustrated by the extremely long day of waiting. Waiting is exhausting.


Once parked at 6:30 and L, I walked up to our camp at 6:30 and esplanade to scope out where I’m going to park. Thankfully $teven Ra$pa was there to greet me, show me our placement, and then compassionately receive my download about the drive in and Will Call line frustrations. He listened. Honestly listened and took notes. It was what I needed most to let go of the negative nature of our entry to Burning Man. I have gratitude to him for being there for me at that precise moment. It was truly playa magic. Exactly what I needed, when I needed it most.


At 3am I woke up to the sound of a law enforcement officer with a dog getting intimate with some innocent Burner’s vehicle. 3am. Seriously? I know the wait I had to do. I’m sure this person was the same and now they are entering the city with this type of welcome. He stood to the side as the dog ran around sniffing every possible crack of his truck and trailer over and over again. The officer and dog found nothing. After some time, the officer released the Burner on his way. I went back to sleep. I wish I had shot a video of the interaction, but it was too dark.


At dawn light I heard the pitter patter of drops on our RV. As an experienced Burner I knew what that sound was and it struck fear in me. RAIN! It was time to move the RV in place. NOW. Immediately. I woke Mom and told her to stay in bed or not, we are moving right now. I swiftly jumped in the driver’s seat in my pj’s, fired up the rig and moved out. The sky felt like it was going to explode. There was so much energy in the air. Urgency. I wanted to get there fast, but had to drive slow. It felt like forever but I’m sure it only took 10 or 15 minutes. Our camp was quiet. All were asleep. Once parked, we started to set out stuff and create the efficiency of our home for the next week. Then 10 minutes later…torrential down pour. Thunder ~ Lightning ~ Lots of thunder and lightning. Gigantic rain drops and lots of them. I’ve never in 12 burns over 15 years seen anything like this. The lake bed was not dry. Burning Man was closed. But we were in. Parked. Set. Mom asked, “Now what?” “Well, it’s pouring. You can’t walk around in the mud (well you can but it’s a mess). I’m taking a nap.” And we both crashed. Finally our bodies could completely relax. The arduous entry was complete. A nap is the perfect transition into our on playa Burning Man experience.