Re-Entry Blues

Burning Man is coming to a close and I’m filled with sadness.

Sad that this temporary community will be disbanded for a year.

Sad I will not be living in community with my Burner friends.

Sad to hear a man lost his life running into the fire of the Man Burn this year (I saw the ambulances but thankfully not his dive into the fire).

It’s always bittersweet to leave home.

But this year I especially feel it.

I can feel it in the frustrations of my friends whose burns did not go exactly as planned.

I can feel it in the horror of the loss of a life.

I’m sad to be re-entering the default world but looking forward to a few things – like a nice, long, hot shower, a real bed to sleep in, and seeing all my non-burner friends again.

Yes, I had a great burn.

But I can tell you this: Re-entry will not be easy.

I can just feel it.

Knowing when to say when

MichelleI have been really, truly, near hospitalization sick only once in my life.

It’s a place I never want to go again.

That’s why I keep an iron grip on my health.

My routines.

My medication.

It is with great sadness that I report that Burning Man disturbs those routines and puts me at risk for getting sick again.

Now that I’m back home, my family and friends ask me what it’s like reentering the Default World.

Well, the truth is I never left it.

I took it with me and lived solidly in it for as long as I could during this burn.

But then, I started getting sick.

After that, all I wanted was to get back home to my boys, my family, and my routines.

Don’t feel bad for me.

I’ve had a good run of it.

And I can say that Burning Man is not for me not because I had a ruined burn like I did in 2015, but because I had a great burn and STILL couldn’t stay healthy.

At least I made up for last year’s ATROCIOUS burn.

It’s been an amazing, life changing journey:

  • I’ve seen a tuba player blow fire.
  • I finally experienced the reverence of a Temple burn.
  • I’ve had my naked body washed by 4 people at the same time.
  • I’ve had outrageously wonderful sex on the playa.
  • I’ve seen the sunrise.
  • I’ve made out with dodgy men.
  • I’ve gotten tipsy and danced my heart out.
  • I’ve been lost in a dust storm. Several, actually.
  • I’ve ridden the back of a snail.

And I’ve fallen in love with Black Rock City and its citizens.

Nevertheless, when I bid the playa farewell this year, I had the feeling I was saying my permanent goodbye.

Tears.

Mark


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A few days ago, a friend of mine ended his life and his suffering by committing suicide.

He was a gentle man, with unrelenting wit and sarcasm and a clever mind.  He loved quoting Heinlein and was always up for new adventures, like when he took me to the Great Bull Run.

We talked about suicide.  Me, because I had slipped into a deep depression after I lost a son to cancer.  Him, because he lost a girlfriend to suicide.  He told me that if he were a book, he’d be “Time Enough for Love” by Heinlein, which is the story of the oldest living man who has decided he wants to commit suicide and is entertaining his audience with stories from his past.

When we discussed me being suicidal, I told him it was very passive.  That I just wanted my heart to stop beating.  I told him I didn’t want to live.  And Mark, having perhaps explored this area better than I, remarked that there was a difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live.

I blogged about Mark frequently, under a pseudonym.  He was my muse.  I had a thing for him, which I let go of but still felt a little tickle of something when I thought of him.  He and I swapped video messages and I have a collection of him talking to me that I can’t bear to look at right now, but that I will someday cherish.

When I think of how he suffered, I can only imagine the depth of his pain which led him to take his own life.

He will be missed by many and until the end of our days.

Life is precious.