And here we go, things cleaned and put away, loaned items made ready to be returned, Sifu’s truck safely back at its berth, and getting used to a world not made up of dust, heat, dust, sun, dust, wind, dust, music, dust and dust, with a side order of dust. Did I mention dust? While not the dustpocalypse that was predicted, it was indeed much dustier this year than the prior two, and if I was suffering any lingering effects in the lungs from mold it was surely killed by the dust. Dust, however, didn’t matter. For it was another great burn.
Every year I’ve gone it has been a very different experience/time for me, in terms of what I have done, seen, sought out, experienced, interacted and been. And frankly, that it has been such different times is very cool. A burn is a burn, independent (appropriately what I invoked during the now traditional tower climb). I didn’t miss out on anything, I didn’t hit in on anything… it was just what it was, and it was good.
Of course, I brought the Kwoon to the playa again, and in that respect there is continuity in my visits. The Kwoon and Dojo aims to be a locus for the martial and meditative arts on the Playa, and oh my gods did it ever fulfill on that intention this year. The schedule was packed full, and even more classes were added as people found us and asked to teach. Every class I saw seemed to fill the Kwoon to capacity. Every class I taught was full of vibrant, excited people. The Dread Pirate Lee’s push hands meetup was packed, with lots of sharing, exploring and playing (wherein I developed my theory of the “push hands experience differential exponent factor”). Our martial sharing/demo session was also packed and awesome, with a multitude of people showing off something from their martial style, with conversations, questions, discussions and appreciation after each one. People used the kwoon during off hours to practice or to spar. There was virtually no BS in sight – everyone was there to share and revel and grow their passion, and/or to try things out and develop or re-kindle a passion for the arts. So fabulous, and such a fulfillment for me of what I wanted to create and of my own martial arts passion.
The Kwoon campmates were equally awesome and made it all possible. And to make the deliveries possible, which remained so much fun and garnered much attention and appreciation. And great thanks to the French Quarter and Asiatown for their infrastructure and excitement and dedication and just for being such fabulous people and fabulous people to camp with. My peeps! They all rock hard.
Dust and dust. Got to the playa even extra earlier to help set up. Arrived just in time to see the sun dip gracefully behind the Black Rock Mountains, and a great cheer rose up. The triayurt held firm and worked well, aided with the addition of tarps and shade to manage the hotter and drier weather this year. Never really got the hydration thing down this year, oddly. Used the stove once and then just cold ate the rest of the time. Had ice cream made with liquid nitrogen (very smoooooooth, very good). Hammered and screwed and erected the French quarter. Got the kwoon built and secured down just in time for a period of high wind bursts, and it held fast then and for the rest of the week. Found my learning of the trucker’s hitch come in handy many times during the week. Was given an awesome sign for the kwoon by Lucifer. Climbed a tower to greet the city and invoke a creation for the new burn. Never made it to get my face 3D printed. Hid the body from the sun during the day, wore crazy duds at night, never managed to get late-night clothing right and was darn right frigid several times. Visited art projects out in open playa in “sparkle light” fashion (see a light, ride to it). Made music under the stars. Climbed atop a crazy great spinning scorpion like art piece in open playa, all filled with sharp corners and no way up, helped by others to get up, scraping up arms and legs in a great “you read the back of your ticket, right?” moment, then marveled and chilled spinning around, taking in the sensory experience, or doing crane stance on the central pivot, still as the rest spun around me. Had conversations in spontaneous lounges in the middle of nothing. Used the jow and was a healer. Met a lovely dragon and shared much of the week with her. Was amused by Bank of Unamerica, Chaos Manhattan, Meryll Lynched and Goldman Sucks. Found the maze. Entered the maze. Passed the entrance to the maze 12 times. Left the maze 3 times, then Dragon or I would have an idea, and head back in. Saw the exit. Found the entrance again. Returned to the maze the next day with graph paper and D&D-owned the maze! Enjoyed every minute of that. Toured the regional core projects. “This wheel doesn’t turn… woah there it goes!” says I inside the hamster-wheel like wheel of a train. Sounded the horn. Missed visiting the hug deli. Used a lightsabre to deflect blaster lit frisbies in the dead of night. Gazed at the stars, and moreso at the full moon. Sat in the silence of walk-in camp atop the dodecahedron structure and admired the surrounding mountains and feeling the breeze. Met up with some friends, missed others. Reconnected with friends, shared time with them, made new friends, shared time with them. Climbed the ropes up the side of the shipwreck. Marveled at the astounding attention to detail, the solidity, the four decks, the angledness and solidity of the shipwreck. All at the end of the pier, which returned this year. Still loved the long dragon art cars. And the soul train. And the Disco Fish! And the new pirate ship with carousel horses. Was amused, engaged or left wondering by art projects. Touched the trash fence. Laid on the ground in open playa and gazed upward, the sounds of the city pulsing by. Ate gumbo and crawfish! Hit up my friend’s sake bar. Put on a lab coat and fired up the Large Hardon Collider. For science! Discovered it was more difficult to find a supply of rigid bodies to collide than I thought it would be. Still had a lot of fun with it. Provided space and spirit for people. Visited the temple. Was deeply moved at the temple. Got flashes of insights and enlightenment at the temple. Felt touched, open, connected and alive. Watched the light stream through the lattice work of the temple, catching the dust in the air in a shower of ethereal rays. Watched the sunrise at the temple. Rode back to camp with the sun directly behind me, shadow in front, pointing directly to the moon setting in front of me. Saw the sunset and the moonrise again on the same day. Wrote messages at the temple, leaving things behind, creating new possibilities. Jammed hard to the amazing live music at Crossroads with a gaggle of new friends. Grooved hard and danced with abandon to a set spun by one half of the Crystal Method. Tasted wine. Marveled at awesome blacklight art that was even 3D with chromatic glasses. Missed the farmers market and juice bar every day. Laid down in the dirt and made a yin yang with our bodies for the satellite photo. Surprised the heck out of someone with a birthday cake and a tonne of birthday cards gathered up and handed off to me to bring to the playa. Had a hilarious time delivering the cake and hearing him wonder if we were coming to his camp or not. Organized, traded, shared and made things work. Had many “you have got to be kidding me…” moments of snafus that didn’t evolve into upset, worry or anything else and just went forward in possibility. Watched the burn in style atop the French Quarter with great people. Said people and crowded an art car and watched the Wall Street burn. Led a great meditation session. Lazed in the afternoon. Packed the truck beautifully for the drive home. Watched reverently the temple burn. Stood in the burning embers of the former temple courtyard, surrounded on all sides by fire.
In short – thrice shown by the stream of consciousness above – it was a very fine burn, fulfilling, fun, wonderful and insightful. I am at the moment unsure if I will return next year or begin on a 2-year rotation. Either way every year has been complete in its own right and an experience well worth creating. I’m very glad I went this year.