Best Family Burn Ever

I’m still not entirely sure what to say about Burning Man, nor what pictures to show here. My heart is full of love and gratitude. We have endured and celebrated nature, the elements, life, humanity, friendship, silliness, joy. My impressions of Burning Man are swirly and colorful.
Nevada Desert

Nevada desert on the way to the playa

After the One Rainstorm

Sunset after a brief rainstorm

I am so glad we went, and especially glad that we camped with so many wonderful friends. Our campmates were super fun and very patient with our small taggers-on. They helped us look out for the boys, entertain them, and graciously shared their “space yogurts” (yogurt in a tube) and other goodies that were novel and exciting. Two friends even volunteered to babysit one night so Ian and I could have a much-needed date!

Our children were brave in the face of not only a hostile environment but also a Saturnalian one, where grown-ups generally don’t behave as usual, where instead they act silly, dye their hair pink, dress in funny clothes (or none at all), and spend their time playing, adventuring, or lazing about. It was a place where you might gleefully talk with strangers and give a made-up playa name just for the fun of playing at being someone else. Best of all, our boys got to see that play is for everyone, that all human beings need long stretches of time to do nothing, or only what we want to do, and that these moments are crystalline and pure. Climbing, running, jumping, dancing, flying kites, making friends, laughing and telling jokes, creating art, falling in love, being—these are the things that make life worth living.

Lucas climbing a pole on top of the Nexus nightclub

Super Fun

Super fun Genesha art car that passed us by one day

Dust Overload Strawberry Shortcake Yummy

A dust-weary Asher, me on the afternoon of the burn, and our dashing Agent Daddy

Fearless Tightrope Walker

Lucas fearlessly walking a tightrope about 10 feet off the ground

"My Parents Take Me to the Weirdest Places"

This tuna art car drove by during one of our family bike outings

Asher's First Kite Flying

Asher’s very first kite-flying experience; hold on tight!

Bocci Ball Mid-Throw

My boys playing boccie ball

Jellyfish Parasol Workshop Exultant Fish Dance with the Salmon of Knowledge

Decorating our parasols like jellyfish; Lucas jumping on a trampoline; Asher dancing with the Salmon of Knowledge

Lucas and Asher also got to see, and we ourselves were reminded, that challenges are worth facing because the rewards are often great. Braving our fears or walking out into the unknown is our task, our surest course to learning who we are and what’s important to us. By purposefully venturing into a desert of nothingness, we fill it with our hopes and dreams and remake ourselves. I watched both of my children, in their own individual ways and according to their ages, encounter their limitations and push past them, gaining confidence and respect along the way.

It was a different kind of Burning Man for me and Ian. Having our kids along was a ton of work and we spent much (most?) of our time making sure that their needs were being met. Keeping two sensitive children safe and happy, hydrated and fed, rested and slathered with sunblock in the desert is pretty much a constant effort. Ian worked ceaselessly to take care of all of us. There was a lot less aimless wandering just to see what there was to see. There were moments I felt despair because I thought I was missing all the fun, but mostly I let that fleeting feeling wash over me and away, and we managed to relax into a new kind of Burning Man experience. We got more sleep this year on the playa than ever before, thanks to the boys’ tuckering out and needing to be home and in bed fairly early. We ate like kings, with lots of fresh produce and barbecued tri-tip dinners. We spent more time near and in camp, which meant time together as a family and with our peeps. We let Burning Man come to us much of the time, and the sweetest folks wandered into our communal shade and spent time with us. Our camp gave out water, drinks, food, advice when it was asked for, a place by the fire, and generally enjoyed that special/sacred hospitality relationship. To all the desert beauties that we met, thank you! You’re my little potato.

Dusted! After the Burn

Lucas is VERY happy to have seen the Man burn this time! Here he is after the burn on Saturday night. I’ve never been in such a whiteout before! For long moments the Burning Man disappeared from view completely, then eerily reappeared through the waves of flying powder.

The truth is we saw a teensy-tiny slice of Burning Man, maybe 1 percent of what was out there. However, what we saw was wonderful. We are tired and a little sad to have to resume normal life now that we are home again. We are loving this breathtaking miracle called running water. My thoughts are dreamy and I feel like I need a rest after my vacation. I feel a creative pulsing in my veins.

All in all, Best Family Burn Ever.

4 Responses to “Best Family Burn Ever”

  • Nicole
    September 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    The other night Anne did a hilarious reenactment of Asher’s dance with the salmon. Best thing ever!


  • Kimberly
    September 9, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I am SO glad to hear that Lucas got to see the Man burn, my heart went out to him when I saw how sad he was in 2006 when he had to miss it! I am so grateful that you all had a wonderful adventure.


  • Sara
    September 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I wish I had witnessed that dance (well, both! Asher’s and Anne’s reenactment!). I actually didn’t see it myself. Ian snapped the pics.


  • Sara
    September 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Kimberly, I know exactly what you mean. It was hard to take him off-playa that year. But it was a much needed break for us to have those two nights and two days alone. That’s only happened about three times ever. Now that he’s seen it, we have fulfilled our promise!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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