Deciding to go with Dusty

Alternative Energy Meeting

The Flames of the Mausoleum

Breaking Down the Enlightenment Camp



Deciding to go with Dusty

We woke up in each other's arms face to face. Morning time was so beautiful in the Black Rock Desert, but even more beautiful when you were with a lover. But, this was the day that I was scheduled to go back to Arizona with Len. We had just begun to love each other. Was this the end? Len and I had agreed to get an early start. Breaking away from his arms was like pulling super powerful magnets apart. John said that he didn't want to let me go. He wanted me to go back with him to Northern California to tell his girlfriend, Mary Smith, that he had met me his true love. He thought it was the most honorable thing to do, and it would give us time to get to know each other better.

My goodness I thought to myself. He is serious! But was it a good idea? How would I feel if my boyfriend of four years brought home a woman whom he had met at Burning Man? It seemed like an outrageous proposal unless we are experiencing a twin flame phenomenon that I had been studying about this summer after getting back from Germany. How could I do it to Len, I asked him? I came with Len helping to drive half the way of a fifteen hour drive. He expected me to drive back with him. Joe said that he would go with me to see how Len would react to me not going back with him. Also, Len and I had planned to tour Arizona, and he was going to work on my computer once we got back to Prescott. So what about that, I asked. He said that after we met and talked with Mary, he would drive me back to Arizona. He wanted to see where I lived, and bring me back to Northern California to live with him. He convince me to take the journey with him was the thing for us to do.

We got up, ate some dusty granola, and went to my camp to talk with Len. Len was in the process of packing up the tents, and putting everything into the car. His feet were hurting him, and he was tired of the dust. He had no desire to stay another night even if it meant that he would miss the burning of the Mausoleum. He had a sun burn, and swollen feet, and wanted to get back to civilization as soon as possible. He thought it was not a good idea for me to go to Joe's house to tell the girlfriend that I was now his new love. He said it was too risky. I listened to him, told him to drive safe, gave him the keys to my apartment, and Joe and I waved goodbye to him. Now, we had another glorious day together in each other's arms.

Alternative Energy Meeting

Joe invited me to go with him to the Alternative Energy Zone (AEZ) for a group photograph they were taking outside the big geodesic dome. After the photo was taken, a community meeting about next year's camp was going to take place. During the photo session, I felt out of place standing there. I don't know what happened to Joe, but he wasn't beside me. I wondered if he didn't want to be recorded next to me.

Next, it was time for the meeting. We sat together. Roger Wilson was referred to as the mayor, and his wife, Anna, was sitting next to him. He wasn't a democratically elected mayor, but a self-appointed leader. I realized that I was not afraid to express my opinions, and that one thing I hated about coupling was not feeling that I was an independent political actress. When I spoke my thoughts at political meetings when I was married, my husband at the time, would tell me that I said stupid things, or I said the wrong thing. I became intimidated to speak out when I was around him because of the destructive criticism. He taught public speaking at the university, so I was up against a professor of rhetoric telling me that I was no good as a public speaker.

So, now I wanted to be recognized by a mate as an independent free thinker who acted from my own cosmic understanding, not as a dependent person. I knew that this was revolutionary because women, even in my generation who went through the women's liberation movement in the early ‘70's, were still taught that if you wanted a man, you had to play up to his ego, and be the helpmate of his ideas. But, that was not the kind of relationship I wanted in the 21 st Century. If I couldn't find a new way to relate to the opposite sex, then I would be single in the 21 st Century. Being with Joe at this meeting seemed like a test.

The conversation got controversial when there was a disagreement about what the AEZ was all about. Some of us felt we could expand our goals and purpose to have an educational component. Others thought that we could raise consciousness between us by developing more group and community activities. I stated that we could also get people aware of what the military/industrial complex was doing by passing out leaflets about the Nevada Test Site and Yucca Mountain which was why the alternative energy camp was so important to our future. Some people suggested that we move the camp to a more visual and prominent place in Black Rock City so that more people would know about us, but Anna said that she didn't want to be in the spot light because of the noise.

Roger didn't like the direction of the conversation and said that the AEZ wasn't a political community. It was about play, not politics. Burning Man was apolitical. It was an art event, not political event. There weren't any high ideals associated with AEZ. The purpose was to get people interested in using alternatives to noisy generators, and to party with sound systems that used solar power. It had nothing to do with nukes or causes such as saving the rain forests of the world. He agreed with Larry Harvey that Burning Man was “creating community in an anarchical liberated environment,” not about collective thinking.

I came into the meeting feeling that Joe had taken me to the right place. I was exactly where I wanted to be. But now, I felt oppressed. I felt that my unique contribution was getting crushed. Did not people realize that politics is an art? Maybe I was not a good anti-nuclear Queen, or my personality was offensive, but I had a right to think that Burning Man was more than an art event. The greatest art form is building cities, and that is the art form I most desired to participate in while at Burning Man. Building sustainable cities was the greatest of political art forms. It was the Great Work. Alternative energy had a part of play in building the crystal arcology of our collective dreams. We also had the duty to educate people to the follies of the nuclear industry.

Joe attempted to get a point across, but he wasn't assertive enough to be heard. I wanted to help him get the attention of the group, but before I could, he whispered to me that he had been in enough political meetings like this one, and he was leaving. I could leave with him, or stay. Then, he got up and left. Maybe I should have stayed because I felt there was a struggle going on there to bring more conscious purpose to Burning Man, but I felt that my budding relationship with him was more important than all the politics in the world. My neutopian world was based on love, so I followed my heart out the door.

On your way back to his camp, in the dust, he found a rub-on-tattoo that he said was for me. It was a double heart with the words over it Feed the Flame. I accepted it, and thought to myself that it was a cosmic message that I should surrender to the love forces, and love him even more. When we got to his camp, he rubbed it on me with water. After smoking more pot, he went back over to the radio station for his final broadcast, and I went the café hoping that there would be one more poetry reading.

In the Café while I walked through the crowd, a woman sitting on the floor was having problems with dust in her eyes. She looked up at me passing by her, and asked me if I had a wet cloth. People tend to carry them around, so that they can use them after a trip to the porta potties, but they were useful for other things. I had one with me, but as soon as I made eye contact with her, I recognized that it was my old friend from Massachusetts, Lissy. Her husband Peter was beside her. We were delighted to see each other after not seeing each other since my trip to visit her in 1995. We caught up with the six years that we had not been in touch. After a while, I convinced Peter and her to come with me to the radio station. I thought it would be great to get them on the air since they have been attending Burning Man since it was only 300 people. When we got to the station, Joe welcomed us in, and we all took a seat near the mike. As we spoke, other people came around the station, and talked. It became a community event.

After the show was over, Joe and I walked around Black Rock City with them. It was the first time in a decade that I had done things with someone else as a couple. I was so happy, so very happy holding hands with a man who would whisper his mantra of his love into my ear.

The Flames of the Mausoleum

That night, we had a potluck at Joe's Enlightenment Camp before the Temple of Memories at the Mausoleum burned. The moon was just about full, but the dust storm had become so bad that one could only see a couple of feet in front of them. I also brought my banner with me to the Mausoleum that I had been carrying with me for a decade to place into one of the smaller fires for people's personal burns. On the banner was the icon of the single family house, the symbol of Western Civilization which I felt was the symbol of our oppression. Besides the icon was the word ecocide. If we could not build an arcology that really united the people in an evolutionary container, then we were not going to figure out our evolutionary way out of the problem. I believe that with all my heart, mind, and soul. It was a core educated belief within me.

Holding on to each other so that we would not be separated in the dust storm, our journey to the Mausoleum burn became a surrealistic dream…. Is this the way love felt, I wondered as the borders between death and life blurred in an endless cycle. Maybe I was reaching Nirvana this time! Even though I read that the dust was not dangerous to breath, I still wondered if it was radioactive dust. But, in the white out, what difference did it make? I was on my way to a place where radioactive waste didn't exist, a place of beautiful cities, a place where people are living in oneness with all the creatures of the world.

After finding a spot to watch the Mausoleum, this great temple with all of our writings and thoughts on it, we danced more while Joe whispered in my ear, “What loves are you burning in the Mausoleum?” The tears were buried too deep to surface. It was the suffering caused by of all the ignorance in the world. It was the tears caused by so much human potential being wasted. We had the means to think like a planet, to have this amazing love energy surround the entire world. We could build a crystal arcology with gardens heating, cooling and feeding its inhabitants. I could see the arcology sparkling in the night lit up like a diamond in the night sky, if we would only learn to live communally with each other, worshiping the wholeness of Gaia.

Joe confessed to me that he had burned a woman who had deeply affected his life. She was a student of the Bible, was very different that him. But, it was an unrequited love that he could not get out of his heart. Now, with the burning of the Mausoleum, and meeting me, he had found a deeper love that was real. Watching the Temple of Memories burn was like watching a place you loved burn, a place of beauty burn, a place of community and love burn.

We didn't talk much walking from the ashes of the Mausoleum. We stopped at one of the fires for me to toss my banner into it. When the time came to toss it in, I had second thoughts. This banner meant a lot to me. I had taken it with me to the Brazil ecocity conference a couple of years ago, and held it up during my lecture. The lecture didn't go over well with the audience. I was unpopular because I said that Arcosanti project was not able to be completed, and become a model of a new lifestyle within a radically new architectural design because of “founder's disease.” Soleri, in his dictatorial authority over the project, was stopping community development. This statement was unpopular because a number of Soleri's followers were at the conference. During the question and answer period, an architect Brian O'Brian from Ireland said that Arcosanti was as wonderful place, and I didn't know what I was talking about. He said that Soleri was a genius and I was a nobody. For the rest of the conference, I felt like a nobody woman. Yes, it was time to burn that banner!

The house is the icon of the American dream. People were raised by that icon. It was the icon of the private family life that people feel bring them security and happiness. After people packed up their bags and left Burning Man, many of them would be going home to that icon. Joe encouraged me to throw it into the flames. I had to give it up. We had to give it up. The whole civilization needed a radical transformation. It was the icon of civilization, a civilization that was plague with war, starvation, environmental pollution, and social inequality; the list goes on and on as to how we were failing. As a species, we had failed to understand the nature of love.

Back at Joe's camper, we got in bed and talked. He said how much he wanted to consummate our love, but he felt obligated to Mary not to have intercourse. The least he could do was to not have sex with me until after he had broken up with her. I agreed it was the right thing to do, but there was something else I needed to share with him. I had a venereal disease which I had gotten years ago through contact with my ex-husband. It was genital warts. Even though the warts had been removed, the virus was still in my blood system, and I could give it to another even through oral sex. Of course, he was upset with this news. Maybe it was the first time he realized that our love was not perfect.

I was certainly no virgin, but a diseased woman. How much I hated to tell him I had warty blood. It was such a sexual turn off unless you were really in love with the soul of the person. Was he inlove my body, or with me? How many potential lovers had I lost when they heard the truth about me? So we talked more deciding that we needed new names after this life-changing experience. I named him Dusty. He said that he always wanted a different name than Joe. “Dusty,” he repeated, “Dusty Roads.” “No,” I said, “Dusty Everything!” He responded, “OK, then. It is Dusty Lovolution Hallucigenia. “And you? What is your new name?” The full moon was shining so bright on the bed, I said, “Moonshine.” He said, “Ok, then. Your new name is Moonshine Lovolution Neutopia. With our new names established we closed our eyes, spooning together and slept in the moon beams of happiness.

Breaking Down the Enlightenment Camp

The next day was clean up day. In the morning, we helped Roger and Anna take down KAEZ radio station. That was a collective effort since it was a big tower, and a couple could not do it alone. How sad I thought it was that the city was only erected for a week. It took so much work to set up a radio station, and a community consciousness to run it. Now, that we were just getting to know each other, and each other's talents, we were parting ways. The whole day I was sad about it.

Dusty said he liked the impermanent of the mobile city. The festival wouldn't be the same if its goal was to create something more permanent. I thought to myself, “Don't we want a city, devoted to art, that is more permanent that the mainstream imperialistic cities? Maybe Dusty is a hedonist hippie who wants to go to Burning Man festivals once a year, and I am a cyberpunk who wants to build long-term 21 st Century ecocities on Earth and on the Moon.” These thoughts made me wondered if our love was just an impermanent as Black Rock City, here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe our love could not exist outside of Burning Man. Next year's Burning Man he would be with some else. I was feeling anxiety, and needed a backrub, but the healers had all left. There hadn't been time to say hello to everyone I wanted to meet, and now, they were leaving.

It took hours to get out of the city gates because the traffic was so backed up. Before they left to go back to the San Francisco, Lissie and Peter drove their packed up art car to Dusty's Enlightenment Camp to tell us goodbye. “Now that is a fun car,” I told them. It was a chalk board car. They had chalk on the side of it for people to draw and write their thoughts. We hugged each other and told each other goodbye.

In the afternoon, I put on my nuclear bra, a bra I had drawn radiation signs on each nipple, and a pair of shorts. Wearing the signs of death on my breast reminded me of all the toxic chemicals now found in mother's milk. Oh Gaia, what had we done to ourselves? Why was there a lack of consciousness about it? Why didn't people care?

Joining the clean up effort, we took several bags to pick up trash on the playa. The philosophy of the event is to leave no trace. How much fun picking up trash was when you are with someone you love! When we got near the ashes of the Burning Man, I wanted some of the ashes, so we took a piece that looked like a piece of coal.

After our two hours of clean up time, we went back to Dusty's camp. We were some of the only people left in Black Rock City. There were a few more camp sites in the distance, and the porta potties were still there, so we were not alone in the desert. We wanted to do a ritual to the playa, so he took off all his clothes, and I in my radioactive sign bra, sat face to face in front of his Enlightenment Camp as we prayed for the elements to protect our natural environment, to bring peace in the world, and to protect our love from outside temptations. Then, we took the ashes from the Burning Man, and the ashes from his Burning Man dollar bill effigy, and mixed them together. He found two empty plastic film cases and we put the ashes in the cases so that he would have one and I would have the other. As dusk was approached, we begin to take down his camp. It was a joy working together. There was such a natural connection between us that the work moved smoothly until night fall. Our plan was to get up early the next morning, pack up the rest of the camp, and then head to California.




Human Extinction or Lovolution?