Robin's Further Adventures at Burning Man, Part III

(Editor's Note: This is the third part of a six-part diary posting covering the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, which ended recently. To read the series from the beginning, please go here.)

by R. J. Forman

The camp tension had peaked. The division had occurred.

It was growing harder for me to be ever present in the whirlwind, here and now world that is Burning Man with a significant other out in what Burners call "the default world…." I knew my significant other was incredibly worried about me running off with some other desert dweller probably called Desert Moonbeam or Tanker.

It was time to let the tension and the default world go.

I went out of my way to send one last e-mail and fully emerged into the Burning Man world.

Strolling across the open desert, pieces of art and trails of color dart in and out of my line of site.

I am there and I am not.

I am part of the earth, the sky, the stars.

I am part Playa and all heart.

I am dreaming as I am walking.

"Are you ok?" asks Counselor, my strange and wonderful mix of default and Playa, who walks beside me through the dust.

"Who me? I'm fine."

That's a lie.

I'm better than fine.

I'm the earth, the sky, the stars.

There are colors swirling around me.

I'm elated.

I'm home.

I am filled with love. Unabated love.

This person, this Counselor — his name, by the way, is completely befitting — who walks besides me, is one of my closest and truest friends from D.C., and, as it turns out, he fills that role in the desert too. And that is never clearer to me than when I'm walking beside him across the open desert.

Counselor and I have been through a lot. A decade's worth of pain, comfort and joy in the one plus year we've known each other. He has helped me immeasurably and I'd like to think I've at least assisted him.

He revealed to me later that he was worried about me on the night of this desert walk.

But that was the one night, in the time I've known him, he could have been care free.

That night and several other moments led to my understanding and acceptance of just how expansive my love is for Counselor.*

There's this whole concept at Burning Man about how everything is based on a "vibe" or a "feeling." For example: "I really like the vibe of this dome right now." Your response to the vibe or feeling determines whether you stay and partake everywhere at Burning Man.

The day I met the Counselor, that instant, last year in May, I got the vibe and the feeling that I would love him and that our paths would run parallel for some time…hopefully until the end of our days.

In keeping with Burner time measurement, I'll take what Counselor can give me now and we'll approach the end of our days when it comes.

We walk. Sometimes we hold hands (my request…and my how I've grown!)

Mostly we don't talk because I am drifting in and out of a dream state.

Then we see it.

The one thing I might love more than Counselor at this moment.

The duck.

The duck is straight out of a 6-year-old boy's dream world.

It is an art car complete with sound system and dance floor (rumors at Burning Man put the cost of assembly at $200,000). That's not the part that makes it a little boy's dream.

This duck has a head of gold tinted mirrors. He wears a Roman warrior helmet with flames coming out of the top and he shoots what looks like laser beams from his eyes. (The lasers are actually just spot lights.)

He is resplendent.

He looks out on us all with a calm and kingly smile.

Counselor attempts to capture the duck in all his glory on camera as I attempt to capture these moments as they pass.

The night wanes and fatigue and cold begin to win the battle.

I find myself curled up next to Counselor wrapped in a faux fur coat falling asleep with the same smile stretched across my face as the duck had across his.

*Please note that this has no effect on my feelings for my significant other.

(To read this series from the beginning, please go here. To read the next part in the series, please go here.)

(The photo shows the resplendent duck art car. The photo is © copyright Counselor and is used with permission. To see a short video of a dance party on the duck, please check below.)

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