In Dust We Trust : Burning Man 2016

Returning to Reno from the Playa this year Doug and I were high on life. This year had been the best burn yet and the desert had left us feeling raw to the bone. We had a bunch of food left over that we wanted to give to a homeless person. The first homeless guy we found could not accept any food as he had just had his last supper. He was dying of cancer and was headed to the hospital to be fitted with a feeding tube. Oh yeah, this is reality. Full of pain and suffering and death. Somehow after 10 days at Burning Man we had completely forgotten about the real world.

dancingflames

It hit us like a ton of bricks.

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The Desert Wept At Our Passing, And Is Once Again Left Alone

70,000 people came and went where none were before. A place so barren it is without insects, and yet I saw a hawk swooping through our camp at dusk.

Black Rock City. A place like no other on earth. You have either been there and know it, or you are an outsider. There is no in between.

There is no place I feel more alive, more insane, more in touch with the emptiness inside my own soul. That personal struggle to add meaning to an intrinsically meaningless life.

Giant bug puppet. Photo by Jim Laux
Giant bug puppet. Photo by Jim Laux

I didn’t want to go, but I had already bought a ticket and a plane ride, there was no turning back. Doug and I planned for months to build a giant 22 foot walking puppet bug we were going to stride across the playa with. I knew it would be a nightmare building it there, it always is. I knew the wind would make our lives miserable as we tried to cart around this giant creation. Last year I built a 43 foot tall puppet man and moved it around with 6 others on guide wires. I swore never again, but here I was building this bug in the middle of nowhere, right back at it again.

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The Most Unreasonable Commitment Ceremony Ever Held In The Middle Of Cayuga Lake

It’s so rare in life that everything goes your way. So often we spend our days battling with entropy as our world seems to stay in a perpetual state of near disasters. It’s rare that everything goes right, and even rarer that this happens on the day that you commit yourself to another. Nature has always been my religion, the place I go to find peace and solace. It seemed fitting that Thilde and I would say our vows to each other in the middle of the body of water I had grown to love the most, Cayuga Lake.

The sound of over a hundred kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards bumping together as the waves rolled by. We hadn’t rehearsed the words we were going to say, but that was fine because life wasn’t meant to be rehearsed. I was lucky enough to choose to be with a woman who cared little for words anyway. Thilde was a woman who cherished actions and affection over words. We had made it this far, and convinced 150 people to gather themselves together in the middle of Cayuga Lake for a most unconventional ceremony to celebrate our love.

The Beautiful Bride to be - Photo by Frank Muller
The Beautiful Bride to be – Photo by Frank Muller

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Worst Idea Ever – Build a 43′ Tall Puppet, Strap It To My Back, Walk Around 60,000 People in 20 mph Winds – Burning Man 2013

My 24' high puppet built for the previous burn in 2012.  This year it was twice the size.
My 24′ high puppet built for the previous burn in 2012.
This year I built one twice as large. Photo by Dan Kaus.

In the last 2 weeks I …

– Had the bomb squad called on me in the airport

– Was attacked by lawn sprinklers while innocently sleeping outside somewhere I probably shouldn’t have,

– Got pressure washed with foam so hard it hurt while rocking out to a DJ in a plexiglass cage with 80 naked strangers

– Danced 6 hours a day in the desert for a week and ate the best food of my life every day at the Rhythm-Wave camp in Black Rock City

– Built a 43′ high bamboo puppet with scrounged materials found around BRC and walked around for 5 hours over 2 different nights with 5 people helping me

– Hiked for 3 days in Yosemite with Doug while the whole park was on fire, climbed half-dome and didn’t get eaten by bears despite smearing peanut butter all over my face and duct-taping myself to a tree

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The Most Intense Dancing Weekend Of My Life

contraI went to the Dance Flurry 3 hours away
Why I decided to go, I can’t quite say
So many from Ithaca seemed to go there
Curiosity would kill this cat with some flair

I showed up not knowing what I would find
Techno Contra? Are these people out of their mind
The first night I danced to 2:30 in the morn
Under black lights and glow sticks I was reborn

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Falling In Love …. With Contra Again

I had seen you before
out on the dance floor
at this place and that
always dancing, but no chat

When you walked up to me
that fateful night
I felt frozen in fear
like a deer in headlights

In that breathtaking gown
with your eyes on fire
time just slowed down
like a bird on a wire

I slowly reached out
and the moment we touched
an energy surged through me
I got such a rush

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