Robin's Adventures at Burning Man, Part VIII

(This is the eighth part of a multi-part series about the Burning Man Festival. To read this series from the beginning, please go here.)

by Robin Forman

Rainbow Songs

Two dust storms and one rain shower until the rainbow.
One day until the Man burns.

I have said that I emerged from Burning Man “a completely morphed and better version of myself.” The reason I say that is because I’ve always had that person I became inside me. I just needed something to help me find that part of me. For me it was Burning Man.

So here are a few of the radical changes that had already taken place. For those keeping socre…that’s in only five days, kids.

First, I stopped drinking coffee.

If you’ve ever met me in the world beyond Burning Man, you know that I would have coffee hooked up to an IV and carry it around with me if I could. I am constantly dehydrated because I guzzle coffee and completely forgo water. I once told my mother that I loved the shakes that I get from coffee to which she replied — and might I add, appropriately — “Robin, that’s just plain sick.” I didn’t need coffee on the Playa. I was running on an average of three hours of sleep and I had the energy of a two-year-old.

I stopped smoking.

Before I got to Burning Man, I couldn’t even run through an airport or my apartment building without “wishing whole-heartedly that I didn’t smoke.” Plenty of people at Burning Man smoke but something about it just didn’t feel right to me after a few days. I began thinking about respecting my body when I was there. I know, that’s hard to believe because if you’ve been following along you’ve already seen me go through two different mind-altering substances. But come on, it was Burning Man, everything can’t make sense.

I held hands.

In the default world, the public display of affection makes me long for a gun, a concealed carry law, and immunity from shooting people. And yet here I was holding hands while walking all over Black Rock City…with a boy… a boy with whom I was romantically involved! Which brings me to the next one….

I was romantically involved.

I don’t do relationships. I haven’t done the relationship game in three years and I am very proud and very happy with this accomplishment. I’m like the Wicked Queen in Snow White…it’s all about me. And boys are disposable toys to me in the default world. In fact, it’s like sport hunting for me...only I hunt with an AK-47.

But there’s something about the Playa and the kindness of the people there. Something in the heat of the desert and the beauty that’s dispersed across it can penetrate the coldest of hearts and melt them.

The dust had been stirred and whipped around twice and now it was beginning to rain. I was out with —get this— both the Mailman and D. But the Mailman went his own way during the rain shower. We lost him as he was doing capoeira with a topless girl. We wandered off to look for my lost bike.

The rain stops. And D asks, “Where is it?”

“What? The bike? Oh, forget the bike. It’s been claimed by the desert,” I reply.

“No, the rainbow. Dust and rain…there should be a rainbow.”

And so we turn to a chorus of other burners gasping.

There are two complete rainbows stretching the entire length of the desert. Over all the artwork, the Man, the city, and thousands of fur and fishnet clad people staring up in awe.

I hold D’s hand and realize that the changes in me have been set in place.

That, Kermit my dear, is why there are so many songs about rainbows.

(To read the preceding part, please go here. To read the next part, please go here.)

(The rainbow photo is courtesy of Robin Forman. To see a short video of the rainbow from Burning Man 2007, please check below.)

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