Burning man 2007: the Green Man: MONDAY
This is going to be one mega long yarn to unwind...
Dave picks us up at 4 in the morning to drive out, we have a really nice trip on the road for about 4 hours with the trailer behind us zipping through the mountains into Nevada. Dave is 40 something and he's been with the same guy [virtual marriage] since he was in his early 20. They have 3 children in their early teens, all brothers and sisters that they adopted from Russia about 8 years ago. Quite a special story. Dave, and his partner: Joel are really sweet fun loving great people.
We arrive at Burning man in the heavy heat and wind. Here we are again! Scorching, sand, trusting mountains... quite the place.
Ingeborg has trouble dealing w. the heat on the first day so i help to arrange a shower for her from a neighbor - this helps her quite a bit.
After a few hours of setting up camp I discover that my dino tail is broken. Close to home is the AEZ (Alternative Energy Zone) camp, so I head on over there to ask if they can help me solder my costume. Night falls quickly, and just when I think its fixed: after an hour of soldering, it suddenly doesn't work anymore again! Doh!
I get back to the camp, and there is everyone getting ready to go into town. So I suit up with my helmet only [since the tail is dead] and we head off to have a look around.
Bibi's dino outfit is looking great, we bop around a dance floor for a bit and then the fatigue of only having slept about 4 hours the night before starts to catch up with us.
Lunar Eclipse and the Man Burns on Monday!
We were told that between 12:00 and 4:00 there would be a lunar eclipse, not sure until what time I stayed up, but it wasn't later than 2:00 in the morning; so I missed it. The next day I found out it was supposed to have eclipsed at 3:30 or so.
At first when people told me the next morning that the man had burned during the lunar eclipse I didn't believe it [I've heard playa-stories before!]; but then it seemed more and more true; and the man did look indeed half scorched. How bizarre!
The full impact of the man burning prematurely didn't sink in until I started to want to visit the lectures at the pavilion... for right after the burn the DPW [department of public works] closed the entire pavilion down. And seeing as nearly all the eco-green talks and activities were taking place at the pavilion, this meant that nearly all green theme'd activities were canceled! It took several days to rebuild the man; they worked on it all night for days - it was quite the sight to approach the fences and see them soldering and mounting beams of wood for the man in the pitch black of night. They were all working so seriously, in strong beams of light; it was a mega-serious mission taking place! As serious as you would be if you needed to build a rocket that would take at least 4 days to build on a planet that was about to be destroyed in 3 days... so your life depended on it...
Now you can think what ever you please, but to me this smelled of conspiracy. Firstly there was a lot of people who were not happy with the decision to have a theme for burning man that involved a change in the way people "thought" instead of just a guideline to how that thought was "expressed" - for being 'green' also implies a change of attitude; and some specialist areas: such as fossil fuel burners: are potentially being out casted with this new direction [there are many happy-pyro's out there]
If someone is going to sneak in and burn the man, there was no better time to do it than during the eclipse. An eclipse meant that it was very dark, and it also meant that everyone was looking at the moon at that moment, not at the man.
The effect of burning the man was multiple... firstly it meant that for days I couldn't figure out where I was on the playa at night! I got lost many times on the roads too as I was used to using the man as a compass point.
Metaphysically I think it also represented how on the issues of 'green', mankind is fearful that it may not survive the necessary transformation. There 'self image' [here represented by the man] is lost to us. We are not sure how to reinvent ourselves to survive.
For it was a real rush to rebuild the man in time for the burn, he was not back up before Friday. The fact that he was rebuilt, this time with the emblem of a phoenix represented to me the fact that mankind can rebuild itself and that the dangers involved with our times [environmental collapse, peak oil etc.] will and shall be overcome; though with difficulty and with some necessary darkness [death] so that there can be rebirth [death as a means for transformation].
The person who burned the man succeeded in closing down the pavilion for 4 days. Even if they didn't burn the man to close the pavilion; subconsciously they would have known the repercussions; and even if they didn't, the collective-unconscious-subconscious knew. Thats a long time to not have anything on demo! If you were someone who didn't like the idea of a corporate take-over at the pavilion, or if you didn't want the event to become green; then the success of closing it down for 4 days was quite a victory.
For me I learned a tremendous amount of things at this event, what I did learn about being green, I actually did not learn from the pavilion itself. But more on that as this story unfolds...