The Burners Are All Right

What’s a tropical storm to those whack jobs?

Remington Write


Photo Credit — AleXander Hirka / Burning Man 2014

The weather will never be truly predictable, but our reactions always are and that goes triple for any weather out in The Black Rock Desert. In a word: hysteria.

The photo above is not from this morning. We took it from our tent on the morning of Monday, August 25, 2014. That was the year the Mighty Burning Man Organization (aka the Borg) decreed that the Gate could open at 10AM on Sunday, the day before the actual event started.

Foolishly, I tried to convince my partner — a full-bore Burner since 2005 — that it would be smarter to wait until Monday. Let the crazy ones crowd in on Sunday and we’d be able to waltz on in Monday with none of the usual crazy long waits at Gate.

The man was not having it.

Photo Credit — AleXander Hirka / The Biggest Man EVER!

Roughly nine hours after leaving Reno at 5am Sunday, we rolled into camp and were able to get the tent up and everything stowed inside in time for the traditional first bike ride out to the man.

That was one impressive Man, that year. 105 feet tall and no pedestal for the first time.

The rain woke us before daylight. Because rain on a tent roof sounds much more dramatic than on the trees outside our apartment in Harlem, we rolled over and went back to sleep. Until the thunder and lightening started. Oh, and the hail. Did we mention hail. Yeah, that, too. We peered out in disbelief at the downpour. Fortunately, we had the cooler, the box of provisions from Trader Joe’s and our trusty pee jugs in the tent. We went back to sleep.

That was the only time in eight visits out to That Thing in the Desert that I remember ever getting enough sleep.

Photo Credit — Remington Write / The first glimpses of blue sky

We napped, ate, peed, napped some more. Watched the storm in wonder. Made love. Napped again. Just about the time the floor under the tent was getting squishy and the rain was finally soaking through the fabric of the tent, it stopped.